Report on “Developing Mathematical Models in Healthcare: Special Workshop on System Dynamics”

On Wednesday 27th January 2016 a special seminar on System Dynamics applied to healthcare was held at the School of Mathematics, Cardiff University. This was part of their regular Developing Mathematical Models in Healthcare seminar series. The event brought together experts in the field to talk about a selection of System Dynamics based projects in health and social care.

The seminar opened with a short introduction to System Dynamics, demonstrating the core concepts of accumulation and feedback when modelling a complex health system.

This was followed by a presentation by Dr Siôn Cave, a consultant with Decision Analysis Services Ltd. Siôn gave a short overview of a number of projects (population behaviour, disease transmission, public health intervention and disease modelling) to reflect the variety of contexts where he has used System Dynamics. Siôn then focused on two high impact national projects (national workforce planning and Horizon 2035: modelling the future of health and social care) to highlight the value of the method.

Finally, Douglas McKelvie, a partner at The Symmetric Partnership, discussed using System Dynamics to improve strategic decision making. The presentation focused on two projects: modelling winter pressures on a healthcare system and modelling (health) service integration to examine whether (and when) the cost of an intervention will be offset by savings.

The speakers kindly agreed to make their slides available. Please find them here:

Some useful resources mentioned in the seminar:

Finally, echoing the final remarks of Professor Paul Harper at the event, please get in touch with Jo Emery ( if you would like further details regarding hosting an MSc project.

About Siôn Cave

System Dynamics practitioner. Supported numerous organisations, including the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Drug Action Teams, defence organizations, financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies.

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