Implementing complex task allocation in a cytology lab via HCCM using Flexsim HC

Kanokporn Pongjetanapong*, Michael O'Sullivan, Cameron Walker, Nikolaus Furian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Healthcare processes contain various complexities which make them difficult to model. These include: multiple-participant activities with flexible resourcing; dynamic task priorities; hierarchical skill levels of resources; and regular task pre-emption. Deciding which task in a care pathway a clinician next performs directly impacts on the performance of the healthcare process. The Hierarchical Control Conceptual Modeling (HCCM) approach has recently been proposed by Furian et al. [1] to provide a conceptual modelling framework purpose-built to explicitly model the decision-making structure in complex systems. Existing software packages for Discrete Event Simulation (DES) have been designed for conceptual models that consist of systems of queues. In particular, the lack of a module specifically designed to account for HCCM's control structure makes the implementation of a HCCM conceptual model in an off-the-shelf simulation package problematic. This research applies the HCCM framework to a real-world Cytology lab (with complex decision making for task allocations) and demonstrates how the resultant conceptual model can be implemented within an off-the-shelf healthcare simulation package (Flexsim HC). The primary goal is a proof-of-concept that the control mechanism, particular to the HCCM framework, can be implemented using such a simulation package.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-154
Number of pages16
JournalSimulation Modelling Practice and Theory
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Conceptual modelling
  • Cytology
  • Discrete-event simulation
  • Workflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Hardware and Architecture

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