Critical care delivery is a complex, expensive, error prone, medical specialty and remains the focal point of major improvement efforts in healthcare delivery. Various modeling and simulation techniques offer unique opportunities to better understand the interactions between clinical physiology and care delivery. The novel insights gained from the systems perspective can then be used to develop and test new treatment strategies and make critical care delivery more efficient and effective. However, modeling and simulation applications in critical care remain underutilized. This article provides an overview of major computer-based simulation techniques as applied to critical care medicine. We provide three application examples of different simulation techniques, including a) pathophysiological model of acute lung injury, b) process modeling of critical care delivery, and c) an agent-based model to study interaction between pathophysiology and healthcare delivery. Finally, we identify certain challenges to, and opportunities for, future research in the area. (copyright) 2012 Dong et al.
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