Stress-testing the resilience of the Austrian healthcare system using agent-based simulation

Michaela Kaleta, Jana Lasser, Elma Dervic, Liuhuaying Yang, Johannes Sorger, D. Ruggiero Lo Sardo, Stefan Thurner, Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, Peter Klimek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients do not access physicians at random but rather via naturally emerging networks of patient flows between them. As mass quarantines, absences due to sickness, or other shocks thin out these networks, the system might be pushed to a tipping point where it loses its ability to deliver care. Here, we propose a data-driven framework to quantify regional resilience to such shocks via an agent-based model. For each region and medical specialty we construct patient-sharing networks and stress-test these by removing physicians. This allows us to measure regional resilience indicators describing how many physicians can be removed before patients will not be treated anymore. Our model could therefore enable health authorities to rapidly identify bottlenecks in access to care. Here, we show that regions and medical specialties differ substantially in their resilience and that these systemic differences can be related to indicators for individual physicians by quantifying their risk and benefit to the system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4259
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • stress-test
  • public heal
  • austria
  • agent-based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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