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Parallel Processes

DavidGDavidG
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in Community support

Hi All
I'm an A&E Consultant I am trying to model some of the processes that we in A&E need to do to care for COVID patients. The issue is that some of these can happen simultaneously, or in whichever order the resources (nurses) are available. So, for instance, when a patient comes in, they need a nurse to take blood tests, another to do observations, and a third to do an ecg. All can happen at the same time, or in whichever order that the nurses are available to do them. The nurse doing the obs could even come in halfway through another nurse doing the blood tests. How on Earth do I do this?? I need this so that I can start to model the system, and work out how many staff I will need when the going gets tough, probably in a week or two. Any thoughts?

Thank you and be safe.



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    Hi David,
    I have had this situation occur myself in a different kind of industry. In the automotive world parallel tasks can happen on the same vehicle at once, and the order sometimes does not matter. (One assembler works on the rear bumper while a second assembler works on the front headlights).

    What I do is I make sure to put a unique ID label on the work items when they enter the process. Then when a work item reaches a point where multiple activities can run in parallel, I first put an activity with zero time called Enter, then this activity batches out to all the activities that are in parallel (if three parallel activities then it will batch out one item to each of the activities). Then the parallel activities all route into a central Queue. This Queue then goes to another zero time activity called Exit. The Exit activity will collect and assemble the work items matching the unique ID label. This will then make a single work item again that will carry on for the rest of the process.

    Caution: batching out and assembling work items does mess with some result values such as Average Time in System. If this metric matters to you I have a work around for that as well while also performing the parallel activities. Just let me know. Hopefully this helps, and if you need a picture to help clarify let me know.

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    Hi David,
    It is interesting to see how you are using SIMUL8 for COVID patient treatment, I can imagine Nurses required in such way in this situation.
    From what I understand you want more nurses to jump in to work, when more patients need treatment in different areas. A feature that could this is "Auto Adjust Replicate " on Resources assigned to Activities that replicate. The help file here explains this further: https://www.simul8.com/support/help/doku.php?id=features:replicate

    Does this help? :)
    Kirsty

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    Hi

    That's not really what I'm trying to simulate. There will be a set number of nurses in the COVID area, all with specific roles. They will each have an activity to do on a patient, but not necessarily in a specific order, and those activities may overlap.

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    I dont know if this may work, but you could try having three activity centres out of the triage one where you need three nurses to process the work, one with two and one with one. The patient will travel to whichever is free, but exit to different working items or queues ie. the patients that go to the three nurse station will then follow the next step in the diagnosis pathway, while those who enter the two nurse service will need to go to get their thrid assesmen while the patients travelling to the one nurse activity room will have to go to another single nurse or a two nurse room. Maybe a bit convoluted but may work

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    That is a good idea, but you're right: it seems so convoluted. Surely, this isn't an unusual situation, where multiple resources swarm over an item, doing their activity, and the unit comes out at the end of all of these activities, having been sorted. What if there were 5 individual activities, or 10? It just seems to me that there should be a way, somehow, but I can't find it. Life isn't all about doing activities in order...

    Please excuse my frustration: I really do appreciate the suggestions. My frustration is believing that there should be a way of performing this task, yet not having a clue how to do it!!

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    This does sound like the answer, and I'm going to have a GoToMeeting with Andrew from Simul8 technical team, who is going to talk me through this. This is so important for me to get this right, especially at this time, so thank you all for pointing me in the right direction

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    David, I would be very interested on this. I would love to hear what was the solution offered, Hopefully you can share it here with us?

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    The solution is exactly as described above: have a zero time activity that creates a batch output of 3 items, one for each of the tasks required, and each with the same ID. These can then go to three separate activities (in my case Obs, ECG and Bloods), and then go to a final activity to collect the three parts (using the ID) and carry on the process.

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