Modelling healthcare internal service supply chains for the analysis of medication delivery errors and amplification effects

Banafsheh Behzad, Reinaldo J Moraga, Shi-Jie (Gary) Chen


Purpose: Healthcare is a universally used service that hugely affects economies and the quality of life. The research of service supply chains has found a significant role in the past decade. The main research goal of this paper is to model and simulate the internal service supply chains of a healthcare system to study the effects of different parameters on the outputs and capability measures of the processes. The specific objectives are to analyse medication delivery errors in a community hospital based on the results of the models and to explore the presence of bullwhip effect in the internal service supply chains of the hospital.

Design/methodology/approach: System dynamics which is an approach for understanding the behaviour of complex systems, used as a methodology to model two internal service supply chains of the hospital with a sub-model created to simulate medication delivery errors in the hospital. The models are validated using the actual data of the hospital and the results are analyzed based on experimental design techniques.

Findings: It is observed that the bullwhip effect may not occur in a hospital’s internal service supply chains. Furthermore the paper points out the conditions for reducing the medication delivery error in a hospital.

Research limitations/implications: Because of the community hospital’s data availability the type of service supply chains modelled in this paper, are small service supply chains, representing only the tasks which are done inside the hospital. To better observe the bullwhip effect in healthcare service supply chains, the chains should be modelled more generally.

Originality/value: The original system dynamics modelling of the internal service supply chains of a community hospital, with a sub-model simulating the medication delivery error.


service supply chains, amplification effects, bullwhip effect, healthcare services, medication delivery error

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience