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Health services are incredible ventures in terms of the scale of ambition and the complexity of meeting the need of anyone who needs the service. To improve or redesign a service requires knowledge of all the interactions – and as human beings we have to rely upon our intuition or experience to supply the necessary. In healthcare – and other complicated service networks – our brains run out of ability to track everything.

Computer models 

Computer models alongside other forms of capturing service concepts, such as mock-ups – allow us to explore how the service could work and to see the many details that prevent it from doing so. Computer models can track all that the processes that are in train and are particularly adept at highlight the areas where queues build, or capacity runs short, or where costly resources are lying dormant. They can manage the complexity of real-life service delivery and they allow all the stakeholders to come together, have their say, and observe the difference their suggestions can make.

In other sectors, models are an important part of the design process. The models are then used afterwards to derive metrics and use them to ensure that the services stay on track.

Where models represent the interests of people scattered around the place, a model is a nice way of bringing them all together and helping each to see what the world looks like to the others.


So much evidence shows that trial and error just doesn't suffice! Here are some examples of use of evidence to make more efficient processes:

  • Stockport PCT- A team from Stockport PCT used a Scenario Generator to model GP referral pathways. This allowed them to see how doctors could see 97% of patients within 28 days
  • Cardiff University- Cardiff University has seen a 54% mortality reduction for trauma patients, a 60% mortality reduction for stroke patients and a £1.6 million saving in a single emergency department. These were all as a result of healthcare modelling
  • Redesigning a Acute Medicine Unit and Emergency Department- Emergency Departments redesigned to work as a integrated acute care hub would result in:
              • Patients reaching a nurse 9 minutes sooner;
              • Average waiting time to see the doctor halved;
              • Patients would leave the Emergency Department 12 minutes sooner.