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SimLean: Utilising simulation in the implementation of lean in healthcare

Robinson, S., Radnor, Z. ORCID: 0000-0002-1624-5729, Burgess, N. & Worthington, C. (2012). SimLean: Utilising simulation in the implementation of lean in healthcare. European Journal of Operational Research, 219(1), pp. 188-197. doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2011.12.029


Discrete-event simulation (DES) and lean are approaches that have a similar motivation: improvement of processes and service delivery. Both are being used to help improve the delivery of healthcare, but rarely are they used together. This paper explores from a theoretical and an empirical perspective the potential complementary roles of DES and lean in healthcare. The aim is to increase the impact of both approaches in the improvement of healthcare systems. Out of this exploration, the ‘SimLean’ approach is developed in which three roles for DES with lean are identified: education, facilitation and evaluation. These roles are demonstrated through three examples of DES in action with lean. The work demonstrates how the fusion of DES with lean can improve both stakeholder engagement with DES and the impact of lean.

► We identify theoretically and empirically the complementary roles of simulation and lean. ► The ‘SimLean’ framework provides three roles for simulation with lean in healthcare. ► We demonstrate the roles of simulation with lean through three example applications. ► The fusion of simulation with lean improves stakeholder engagement with simulation. ► The fusion of simulation with lean improves the impact of lean.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: OR in health services, Lean, Discrete-event simulation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments: Presidents's Portfolio
SWORD Depositor:
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Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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