Abstract for:Can a system dynamics model inform improved access to emergency department care?

In Australia and across the globe, Emergency Departments are struggling to meet increases in demand. In the UK and Australia respectively, 15% and 28% of all arrivals during 2016-17 waited more than the targeted four hours to complete their care. The models that have historically informed timely access to emergency care have ignored the wider systems impacts. Time spent in the ED has been linked  to in-patient mortality rates (Staib et al. (2017). As the once complicated now becomes complex, there is growing recognition that the traditional analytical tools informing healthcare service delivery no longer work [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2017]. There is growing public sector awareness of the value of systems approaches for informing interventions and policy. Rather than serve narrow institutional interests, systems approaches engage a broad range of stakeholders in a model building process that traverses departmental boundaries. If adverse health outcomes are to be avoided and patient care and emergency department efficiency maximised, the strength of system dynamics tools over both ceteris paribus dependent health economic models and current discrete event simulation approaches needs investigation. The objective of this research is to determine whether a system dynamics model with realistic resource constraints can reliably replicate patient flows dynamics.