Mixed modelling of a radiotherapy centre: the complementary application and integration of system dynamics and discrete event simulation

Jennifer Morgan, Valerie Belton, Susan Howick

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Both System Dynamics (SD) and Discrete Event Simulation (DES) have been successfully applied within the healthcare
context and this work examines how they can be used in a complementary and interacting manner. This work has applied
the two simulation approaches within the radiotherapy planning and treatment process at the Beatson West of Scotland
Cancer Centre to provide insight into the behaviour of the system. The unit is subject to resource constraints yet is driven to
keep up with Research and Developments in the Radiotherapy field. How it might implement new more complex
radiotherapy techniques in practice is explored in this work. A SD model represents the policy of progressive
implementation of complex treatment regimes and captures the increasing treatment times, the learning processes
involved and delays within the system. A DES captures the activity within the system: from the booking and initial imaging
of patients, through the planning process and onto treatment. It is used to explore the impact of employing new more
complex radiotherapy treatment regimes, depicting the impact such changes have on the capacity of the system and the
day to day running of the centre. The combined application of the approaches allows the progressive implementation of
new regimes to be explored to ensure timely treatment of patients and limit excessive queueing. This work sits within the
multi-methodology field and how the two models add value to the project is reflected upon, and the interaction between
the models is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Jul 2011
EventThe European Working group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services (ORAHS) - Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Nov 2011 → …


ConferenceThe European Working group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services (ORAHS)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Period7/11/11 → …


  • mixed modelling
  • radiotherapy centre
  • discrete event simulation
  • complementary application
  • integration of system dynamics
  • radiotherapy planning
  • multi-methodology
  • system dynamics

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