A participative and facilitative conceptual modelling framework for discrete event simulation studies in healthcare

Existing approaches to conceptual modelling (CM) in discrete-event simulation (DES) do not formally support the participation of a group of stakeholders. Simulation in healthcare can benefit from stakeholder participation as it makes possible to share multiple views and tacit knowledge from different parts of the system. We put forward a framework tailored to healthcare that supports the interaction of simulation modellers with a group of stakeholders to arrive at a common conceptual model. The framework incorporates two facilitated workshops. It consists of a package including: three key stages and sub-stages; activities and guidance; tools and prescribed outputs. The CM framework is tested in a real case study of an obesity system. The benefits of using this framework in healthcare studies and more widely in simulation are discussed. The paper also considers how the framework meets the conceptual modeling requirements.