Healthcare Basics: Arrivals and PCI


In this Healthcare Basics video, we’re going
to cover patient arrivals and PCIs. The PCI tool can be accessed from either the
toolbar or the Toolbox. PCI stands for Patient Classification Index, so the PCIs tool will
allow you to create all the different types of patients that could arrive in your simulation
model. This tool is a table, with each row representing a different type of patients
and columns that you can use to change the patients’ basic settings, such as their speed,
their visuals, and their acuity. More PCIs can be added from the top of the tool.
In the PCI tool, you will assign each PCI to a specific Patient Track. The Patient Track
is the step-by-step series of activities that a patient will follow from the time they arrive
in the simulation model until the time they exit the model. You could have a different
Patient Track for each PCI, but it’s not necessary. Select the proper Patient Track using the
drop down menu. Visuals is referring to patient visuals, which can be changed by clicking
the icon at the top of the PCIs tool. It opens the Patient Visuals tool, which lets you drag
out patient shapes from the library and into the patient gallery. This creates a visual
profile that you can further customize using the Quick Properties. Once you’re ready, select
that visual profile for the PCI. Speed refers to the speed at which a patient
moves throughout the model, measured in meters per minute. When escorting patients, staff
members will match the speed of the patient. Acuity is looking for a number to assign an
acuity level to the PCI, and it’s recommended that you use the same acuity system implemented
in your own organization. You also have the option to add labels from
the top of the tool, which can represent any additional system of classification that your
organization uses, and might be a good option for more complicated acuity systems. Labels
are flexible: they can be a number representing the level of expertise to treat the patient,
a string of text representing the emotional energy required to care for a patient, or
anything else you’d like them to be. Now that you have at least one Patient Track
and one PCI, we can define how our patients arrive. Click on the Patient Arrivals object
in your model. In the Quick Properties, there is an Arrivals section with four options:
Inter-Arrival Times, Hourly Arrivals, Appointments, and Custom Arrivals. Keep in mind that you
can use one of these arrival options by itself or you can use a combination of different
arrival patterns if needed. If you decide to use Inter-Arrival Times option,
your Patient Arrivals object will make patients arrive at random rates using a mathematical
distribution or other condition. This option might be useful if you are modeling a health
care facility where patients can walk in and see a doctor without making an appointment.
It’s also a quick way to get patients arriving, which is why it’s the default option in FlexSim
Healthcare. That being said, one of the other arrival options might be better suited for
your simulation model. If you decide to use the Hourly Arrivals option,
patients will arrive based on numbers you specify for each hour and day of the week.
You might want to use this option if you are modeling a health care facility that is predictably
busier or slower on certain days of the week or at different times of the day. You will
determine how many patients should arrive each hour using the Hourly Arrivals Table.
These arrivals can be spaced randomly or evenly throughout the hour, or arrive all at once
at the beginning of the hour. The Appointments option is exactly what it
sounds like: patients arrive according to pre-scheduled appointment times. To create
appointment times, click “Edit Appointments Table” and enter in your various appointments
plus the patient’s appropriate PCI. Appointment times are entered in the Day:Hour:Minute format,
with Monday being Day 1 and the hours using military time. For example, 4:15 p.m. on a
Wednesday would be 03:16:15. The actual arrival time for each patient will display as the
simulation runs. And just like with PCIs, you can also add labels if you desire.
So why would patients actually arrive at a different time than stated in our model? Using
the Variability box, we can add randomness into how early or late patients arrive for
scheduled appointments. Finally, the Repeat Interval box lets us specify how frequently
the schedule should be repeated. You can choose an option from the drop-down list, or just
enter a number that represent how much time should elapse before the appointment schedule
repeats. FlexSim Healthcare measures time in minutes; for example, 1440 is the number
of minutes in a single day, and 7200 is the number of minutes in five days.
The final option, Custom Arrivals, is perfect if you want a variety of different types of
patients who arrive at different rates based on the hour and day of the week. It’s similar
to Hourly Arrival, but lets you create different arrival patterns for different types of patients,
and gives you the power to specify the exact time frame that patients arrive in using the
same Day:Hour:Minute format as Appointments. And like Appointments, you can also indicate
when this custom schedule repeats. Thank you for watching. Tune in to the next
video to learn about running the simulation and getting data from it.

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