Background: Planning built infrastructure for health systems is a complex process that requires a better understanding of clinical, resource and financial interdependencies. At regional strategic scale, health and social care organisations are required to provide coordinated services by working on a unified plan in response to the objectives set out by the government. The complexities of objectives, of structure and of process make this a fragmented and lengthy process, stressing the need for integration across discipline and organisational boundaries. Forming a collective intelligence between stakeholders could potentially lead to an accelerated process and higher quality results over the long term. In this context, simulation tools have the potential to bridge gaps and enable collaborative processes across institutions. However, evidence shows that simulation tools could also hinder the planning process by turning the focus away from the artefact and towards the tool.
Question: Can a simulation framework enable organisations to form a collective intelligence and achieve an integrated strategic process to plan infrastructure for a regional health and social care service?
Proposal: This work proposes a simulation-based framework that integrates strategic health infrastructure planning with clinical and financial planning processes from inception to the point of selecting the preferred option. The multi-method simulation tool would federate individual artefacts and engage stakeholders in group modelling activities. Firstly, it would be an exploration and negotiation tool with the purpose to create a common ground. Towards the end of the planning process, it would be used to evaluate the impact of combined the proposals on the wider health system and on the long-term infrastructure provision. It is estimated that the additional opportunities for collective behaviour could lead to the formation of a collective intelligence in strategic health infrastructure planning.
Keywords: Simulation, collective intelligence, strategic health planning, participatory modelling, health infrastructure