Agent-based Modelling for Simulating Patients Flow in a Community Hospital

Thomas Ostermann


One of the most innovative tools in health care informatics is agent-based modelling. Such models change dynamically and help to understand interactions in complex systems especially when simulating competitive and cooperative behaviors in human systems. In our approach we use multi-agent modelling for simulating and evaluating patients flow in a community hospital. The model proposed in this context consists of three different types of agents: the hospital agent, the unit-agent and the patient-agent. Calculation of waiting times was performed using previously collected data from elective patients entering the community hospital ambulance. Poisson distribution was used to model waiting times. The simulation was carried out using the JAVA-based multi-agent-modelling environment Quicksilver. After solving convergence problems, we found, that the simulation especially for the ambulance entrance unit did show completely unexpected results. We were able to prove that the waiting times did not solely refer to the service times of the modelled units. To assure an unobstructed patient flow, we also showed that the mean service time at the entrance unit should not exceed 25 min. Although no evidence was given by the isolated analysis of waiting times, the simulation gave hints for a “hidden patient queue”, which after presenting the results in the quality circle meeting was confirmed by the ambulance staff.


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Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Ostermann T. (2015). Agent-based Modelling for Simulating Patients Flow in a Community Hospital . In Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics - Volume 1: HEALTHINF, (BIOSTEC 2015) ISBN 978-989-758-068-0, pages 14-19. DOI: 10.5220/0005178100140019

in Bibtex Style

author={Thomas Ostermann},
title={Agent-based Modelling for Simulating Patients Flow in a Community Hospital},
booktitle={Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics - Volume 1: HEALTHINF, (BIOSTEC 2015)},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics - Volume 1: HEALTHINF, (BIOSTEC 2015)
TI - Agent-based Modelling for Simulating Patients Flow in a Community Hospital
SN - 978-989-758-068-0
AU - Ostermann T.
PY - 2015
SP - 14
EP - 19
DO - 10.5220/0005178100140019