This is a story about a large medical provider that was aimed at providing better patient care, lower costs and a lift in our nations health overall. These goals have been in conflict before, but by using business simulation, guided by visual systems dynamics models projected over 40 years, several best balance scenarios were identified. This allows for a broader understanding of decisions and their actions over time.
Believe it or not, healthcare in the U.S. – on both local and national levels – is not simply controlled by a faceless entity, masked behind bureaucracy, and seemingly out of touch to all but the most powerful. Many entities share a stake in the direction of healthcare, but few understand that they are not alone – that there are great (often mutual) benefits to cooperation that impact everybody. One of the largest healthcare stakeholders in the U.S. understands this, and they recently selected simulation to create a way of bringing other stakeholders together to develop collective decisions that improve the healthcare system
The Desired End Game:
The vision is to improve healthcare on both local and national levels. You might ask, “What does it mean to improve healthcare?” When people become sick, they incur healthcare costs due to treatment, medicine, etc. In the most basic form, the best means of improving a healthcare system is to promote preventative healthcare – typically via education, routine primary care, vaccinations, screenings, and other methods – which, in turn, reduces the amount of sickness among the population.
“Great,” you may reply, “but how do we influence stakeholders to take steps to enrich and expand preventative care, thereby improving the healthcare system?” This organization knows that improving healthcare is a monumental task in the long term, but setting up the framework for success by bringing the right people together to learn is, in the short term, quite feasible. In response to this, the organization and Simudyne worked together to create the Healthcare Education Simulator (HES).
What is HES?
HES is a computer simulation at the center of an educational experience designed to teach healthcare stakeholders who else has influence in the system, what methods of cooperation exist, and how different “interventions” impact individual stakeholders and the system as a whole. Simudyne and this organization collaboratively developed the “brain” within HES as an adaptation of the system dynamics model and related work completed by Bobby Milstein, PhD, MPH of ReThink Health/Rippel Foundation and Kim Warren, PhD of Strategy Dynamics Ltd.
“So, we have all of this fancy data. Now what?” Believe it or not, despite the complexities of the sophisticated HES engine and the precision of the healthcare data outputs, this organization facilitates the educational experience in such a way that communication, collaboration, and networking are the primary takeaways from the experience. Of course, the data must be accurate in order to give HES credibility as a useable healthcare simulation, but this organization keeps its vision in focus by bringing in stakeholders from various professional areas – providers, payers, employers, etc. – and teaching them that there are myriad opportunities to work together (considering that, in the real world, these stakeholders typically make decisions independently). All-in-all, HES serves as the platform upon which strangers in the healthcare system meet, learn from each other, and plan to collaborate in the future with the intent of both achieving mutual benefit and improving the system as a whole.
As participants begin to learn from HES, we are reminded of the importance of simulations in learning and decision-making processes. Simulations like HES immerse users and offer additional perspectives to solving complex problems; they “shine light” on problems by transcending pen & paper, spreadsheets, and other traditional means of prediction and analysis. HES literally invites users into a virtual world and gives them something to remember, and time will tell us of the value of the decisions they make and the relationships they build as a result of the Healthcare Education Simulator experience.
Flight simulators save lives over time; ask any airline pilot. The same can be said for business survival at in a context that allows others to thrive. This allows us to move to a "win - win" set of behaviors that does not sub-optimize on any one role or organizational unit.
This is a highly summarized and anonymous case study provided by Simudyne