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Simulation Modelling in Healthcare: An Umbrella Review of Systematic Literature Reviews


  • Syed Salleh

    (University of Sheffield)

  • Praveen Thokala

    (University of Sheffield)

  • Alan Brennan

    (University of Sheffield)

  • Ruby Hughes

    (University of Sheffield)

  • Andrew Booth

    (University of Sheffield)


Background Numerous studies examine simulation modelling in healthcare. These studies present a bewildering array of simulation techniques and applications, making it challenging to characterise the literature. Objective The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the level of activity of simulation modelling in healthcare and the key themes. Methods We performed an umbrella review of systematic literature reviews of simulation modelling in healthcare. Searches were conducted of academic databases (JSTOR, Scopus, PubMed, IEEE, SAGE, ACM, Wiley Online Library, ScienceDirect) and grey literature sources, enhanced by citation searches. The articles were included if they performed a systematic review of simulation modelling techniques in healthcare. After quality assessment of all included articles, data were extracted on numbers of studies included in each review, types of applications, techniques used for simulation modelling, data sources and simulation software. Results The search strategy yielded a total of 117 potential articles. Following sifting, 37 heterogeneous reviews were included. Most reviews achieved moderate quality rating on a modified AMSTAR (A Measurement Tool used to Assess systematic Reviews) checklist. All the review articles described the types of applications used for simulation modelling; 15 reviews described techniques used for simulation modelling; three reviews described data sources used for simulation modelling; and six reviews described software used for simulation modelling. The remaining reviews either did not report or did not provide enough detail for the data to be extracted. Conclusion Simulation modelling techniques have been used for a wide range of applications in healthcare, with a variety of software tools and data sources. The number of reviews published in recent years suggest an increased interest in simulation modelling in healthcare.

Suggested Citation

  • Syed Salleh & Praveen Thokala & Alan Brennan & Ruby Hughes & Andrew Booth, 2017. "Simulation Modelling in Healthcare: An Umbrella Review of Systematic Literature Reviews," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 35(9), pages 937-949, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:pharme:v:35:y:2017:i:9:d:10.1007_s40273-017-0523-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s40273-017-0523-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan Brennan & Stephen E. Chick & Ruth Davies, 2006. "A taxonomy of model structures for economic evaluation of health technologies," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(12), pages 1295-1310, December.
    2. Bożena Mielczarek, 2016. "Review of modelling approaches for healthcare simulation," Operations Research and Decisions, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Management, vol. 26(1), pages 55-72.
    3. Mahdavi, Mahdi & Malmström, Tomi & van de Klundert, Joris & Elkhuizen, Sylvia & Vissers, Jan, 2013. "Generic operational models in health service operations management: A systematic review," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 271-280.
    4. Sheldon H. Jacobson & Shane N. Hall & James R. Swisher, 2006. "Discrete-Event Simulation of Health Care Systems," International Series in Operations Research & Management Science, in: Randolph W. Hall (ed.), Patient Flow: Reducing Delay in Healthcare Delivery, chapter 0, pages 211-252, Springer.
    5. Francesca Guerriero & Rosita Guido, 2011. "Operational research in the management of the operating theatre: a survey," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 89-114, March.
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    1. Diego Tlapa & Ignacio Franco-Alucano & Jorge Limon-Romero & Yolanda Baez-Lopez & Guilherme Tortorella, 2022. "Lean, Six Sigma, and Simulation: Evidence from Healthcare Interventions," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(24), pages 1-25, December.
    2. Beaulieu, Martin & Bentahar, Omar, 2021. "Digitalization of the healthcare supply chain: A roadmap to generate benefits and effectively support healthcare delivery," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    3. Syed Salleh & Praveen Thokala & Alan Brennan & Ruby Hughes & Simon Dixon, 2017. "Discrete Event Simulation-Based Resource Modelling in Health Technology Assessment," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 35(10), pages 989-1006, October.
    4. Jesús Isaac Vázquez-Serrano & Rodrigo E. Peimbert-García & Leopoldo Eduardo Cárdenas-Barrón, 2021. "Discrete-Event Simulation Modeling in Healthcare: A Comprehensive Review," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(22), pages 1-20, November.
    5. Diego Tlapa & Guilherme Tortorella & Flavio Fogliatto & Maneesh Kumar & Alejandro Mac Cawley & Roberto Vassolo & Luis Enberg & Yolanda Baez-Lopez, 2022. "Effects of Lean Interventions Supported by Digital Technologies on Healthcare Services: A Systematic Review," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(15), pages 1-23, July.

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