SIMCARE was developed through a research program funded by CIHR’s strategic initiative “Advancing Theories, Frameworks, Methods and Measurement In Health Services & Policy, Population and Public Health Research and Knowledge Translation”. SIMCARE addresses one of the initiative’s objectives: to develop conceptual frameworks, and methods of analysis for research respecting health services, systems and policies.
The initial aim of SIMCARE investigators was to develop a computer simulation model representing the flow of patients in a network of hospitals in order to examine the impact of proposed organizational changes on access to care. Today, SIMCARE showcases policy analysis for identifying effective solutions for the everyday practice of healthcare. Its objectives are to place computer simulation studies within the paradigm of intervention research concerned with comparing the outcomes of healthcare delivered under various policies.
The significance of the research program lies in integrating a new framework for evaluation of access to health care into efforts to enhance quality, organization, and delivery of health care in Canada. In particular, major achievements include:
- Merging intervention research and computer simulation modelling within one analytical framework; and
- Developing a research agenda on the premise that the evaluation of organisational changes in the delivery of health services should include the simulation of health system operations.
The program draws on research capacity developed with funding from the Canada Research Chair Program, Canada Foundation for Innovation Grants, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and Trainee Programs, and Dalhousie University.