Up to this point in the tutorial, you've learned how to create tasks that are patient-centered, meaning tasks that are tied to a patient entering the health care system and working through the patient track from beginning to end. In this tutorial task, you'll learn how to create independent staff tasks, which are tasks that are not tied to a specific patient that is currently in the system. Staff members work on these kinds of tasks independently of patients.
In this tutorial task, you'll learn how to add a maintenance task to a location after it has been used and you'll learn how to create routine tasks that might temporarily take a staff member away from caring for a patient. Then, you'll learn how to create a shift schedule for staff members that will determine when they are available to work (as opposed to being off work or on a break).
In the final step of the tutorial, you'll add more patients to the model and see how it operates when there are several patients in the health care clinic at a time. When you're finished, your simulation model will function similar to the following image:
Usually after a patient leaves an examination room, a nurse needs to lightly clean and prepare the room for the next patient. You can add those types of cleaning tasks by adding maintenance tasks to a location. This step will show you how to edit the properties for the exam tables to add a maintenance task. This task will be assigned to one of the nurses after a patient leaves the exam table. The amount of time it takes to complete the maintenance task will represent the amount of time it takes to clean and prepare the exam room for the next patient. After the maintenance task is complete, the exam room can be acquired by another patient.
To add maintenance tasks to the exam tables:
Reset and run the simulation model:
Notice that after a nurse escorts a patient to the exit, the nurse then returns to the exam room that the patient just left. The nurse remains in the exam room for a certain period of time, representing the amount of time it takes to perform the necessary maintenance tasks to prepare the exam room for the next patient.
In this step, you'll learn how to create a system for staff members to receive and answer phone calls. To create this system, you'll need to add a phone to the 3D model. Then you'll create a new process flow that will create phone calls and assign those phone call tasks to the clerk at the registration desk.
When you're finished, your process flow should look similar to the following image:
For now, you'll merely add and connect these activities to the process flow. You'll edit the properties to add logic in a later step.
To add a phone and create a new phone call process flow:
|Activity or Shared Asset||New Name|
|Acquire Staff||Acquire Clerk|
|Walk||Walk to Phone|
|Release Staff||Release Clerk|
|Sink||End Phone Call|
Check to ensure that your process flow looks similar to the image at the beginning of this step.
In this step, you'll add the logic for the process flow you created in the previous step. You'll create the logic that will randomly generate phone calls and then instruct the clerk to answer those calls.
The following is an overview of how the activities and shared assets in the process flow will function:
|Activity or Shared Asset||Explanation|
|Clerk||This shared asset will link to the Clerks group in the 3D model.|
|Phone Rings||This activity will determine how frequently the phone rings. You'll set it to ring at random approximately every 10 seconds.|
|Acquire Clerk||This activity will acquire a member of the Clerks group. If all members of the Clerks group are busy working on other tasks, the token will wait at this activity until a Clerk is free.|
|Walk to Phone||This activity will tell the acquired clerk to walk to the phone and pick it up.|
|Answer Phone||This activity will represent the amount of time it takes to take the phone call. You'll set that time to 15 seconds for now.|
|Release Clerk||This activity will release the clerk that was acquired earlier in the process flow. Afterwards, the clerk will then be free to work on other tasks or to be acquired by other patients.|
|End Phone Call||This activity will remove the token representing the phone call from the process flow.|
To build this logic:
Reset and run the simulation model:
As you watch, you'll notice that the phone eventually starts to ring. The clerk alternates between registering a patient and taking a phone call.
In this tutorial step, you'll learn more about the priority and preemption system in FlexSim Healthcare. Using this system, you have the ability to add different priority levels to staff, location, equipment, and transport resources in a patient flow. Priority levels help you to determine the best way to allocate resources when there may be a limited supply. See HC Staff and Resource Priorities for a more in-depth explanation of the priority and preemption system.
In this example, you'll learn how to make the clerk prioritize answering phone calls before registering patients. You'll do this by changing the priority level of the staff resource that is associated with answering phone calls:
Reset and run the simulation model:
As you watch, notice that the clerk starts to register the first patient but then gets interrupted by a phone call. The Register Patient task is paused momentarily while the clerk answers the phone. The clerk resumes registering the patient unless another phone call arrives.
In this step, you'll learn how to use the Time Table tool to create a shift schedule for your staff members. The shift schedule will determine when staff members are off schedule, on break, or when they are available to work on tasks. In this first step, you'll learn how to create a time table and add staff members to the time table.
To create a time table:
Leave the Time Table properties window open and continue to the next step.
In this step, you'll continue working on the time table that you created in the previous step. You'll learn how to set the schedule's hours for times when the staff members are off schedule and when they are on break. You'll also learn how to set a schedule so that it repeats over a week.
You could also use this same method to build different schedules for staff that are on a morning shift or an evening shift or scheduling events such as staff meetings.
Now that you've built out a fairly complex simulation model and tested it, it's time to increase the number of patients that move through the health care clinic model. In this step, you'll change the patient arrival schedule on the Date Time Source activity in the PatientArrival process flow. Because patients in a walk-in clinic often arrive at varying rates depending on the time of day, the Date Time Source activity will allow you to define the rates that they commonly arrive.
To change the patient arrival pattern:
8:20:00 AM. Close the window.
Reset and run the model.
Notice that the simulation model will immediately begin receiving phone calls and a patient arrives fairly quickly, but the clerk doesn't begin to answer calls or register patients until 8:30, when the shifts officially begin.
Continue observing the model:
As you watch, several patients will now arrive randomly during the hour and patients will randomly be assigned to one of three treatment tracks.
This concludes the FlexSim Healthcare Tutorial. By now you should have a good sense of all the different tools that are available to you when building a FlexSim Healthcare model. Be aware that in a normal simulation project, you'd go on to make sure your data inputs were correct by studying the times that it takes to complete registration, patient vitals, examinations, and other treatment times.