A review of different approaches to access and people circulation within health-care facilities and the application of modelling, simulation and visualisation

Evidence suggests that improving access and people circulation in hospitals can: improve staff performance and productivity; enhance patients’ safety, privacy and rate of recovery; minimise the risk of cross-infection; reduce the delay time of external service delivery; create a more welcoming environment for visitors; and reduce the evacuation time in emergency situations. Consequently the need to design hospital layouts that benefit from the most effective system cannot be over-emphasised. This paper focuses on identifying different systems of access and people circulation in health-care facilities in general and hospitals in particular. The research on access and people circulation reported in this paper comprises three main phases. The first phase involves a literature review of existing health-care environments to identify different types of access and people circulation requirements. The second phase focuses on categorising the adopted approaches and systems in order to compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of each. The final phase provides a critique of current modelling and simulation tools being applied during the planning and design phases to improve access and people circulation. The paper concludes with recommendations which will be used to shape future research in the area.