Monday, September 13, 2010

Educational Pre-Conference Seminar Announcement - System Dynamic Modelling in the Emergency Department.

Here is the information from the web-site:

Systems Thinking and Modelling for Health: The Emergency Department-Medical Imaging interface with a focus on Patient Flow Improvement

Date: Wednesday 10 November 2010

Time: 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Location: Swiss Grand Bondi Beach

Cost: $50 per person (includes afternoon tea)


*Delegates who have already registered for the conference, please contact Conference Works directly on Ph: 03 9870 2611 Email:

The health care system is a complex collection of interactions. Navigating the health care system is an increasingly difficult and frustrating task. This applies for patients, carers, clinicians, policy makers, funders, politicians and citizens. This is particularly true in the Emergency Department, and an emerging focus of attention is the clinical interface between Emergency Medicine and Medical Imaging. This focus has included aspects of patient safety, quality of care, communication/teamwork, and error including diagnostic error. Inappropriate use of imaging, and the downstream impacts on patient flow, and ED overcrowding, is also on the radar. Recent healthcare reforms now mean there is an quality improvement imperative in the Emergency Department with a specific emphasis on identifying and removing impediments to patient flows. This workshop will therefore be of specific interest to those involved in analysing and improving patient flows in Emergency Departments and Medical Imaging.

A continual stream of new technologies and health conditions adds a dynamic dimension to this confusing world. These advances in biomedical knowledge and technologies have forced specialized clinicians and policy makers to focus on understanding and analyzing the parts of the system rather than taking an overall systems approach. Tools and methods for understanding complexity and designing social systems are being developed and applied, particularly in the systems science and engineering disciplines. Their use in healthcare, including at the Emergency Medicine-Medical Imaging interface, is increasing with the wider availability of powerful computer simulation tools which can be applied to patient flow issues in the Emergency Department for example.

However, overall uptake has been slow due to health professionals’ lack of familiarity with the concepts, technical language and tools required to tackle the dynamics of complex systems. One such tool is system dynamics modelling.

In this workshop, simple computer models will be used to teach health professionals and researchers with minimum or no experience in modelling some of the key health system dynamics applicable in real world problems such as those found in the Emergency Department. This will be a hands-on workshop using computer models to understand the concept of how structure determines behaviour by running virtual “what-if” experiments. This will include patient flow in the Emergency Department, and the impact of Emergency Department-Medical Imaging interface interactions.

Audience/Key participants:

Emergency Department staff,

Medical Imaging staff,


Quality, Safety, Performance and Risk staff,

Quality and systems researchers

Learning Outcomes:

You will understand the difference between process maps and dynamic system models, the approach and language of systems modelling and the methods of system dynamics model development and use for what-if experiments, with particular emphasis on the Emergency Department, the ED-Medical Imaging interface, and patient flow analysis and improvement.


Geoff McDonnell is Simulation Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation , UNSW, and trained as a specialist physician and engineer at UNSW, Harvard and MIT, with public and private health sector experience, including IBM Asia Pacific. He is a cofounder of the Health Policy Special Interest Group of the international System Dynamics Society.

The web site and the full conference details can be found from here:

I raise this as Dr.Geoff McDonnell is an old ‘mate’ and I know that it would be helpful for those wanting to understand just how Systems Dynamics Modelling can help in the health sector and in this domain particularly.


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