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Healthcare Microworld
The Healthcare Microworld, called “Creating Integrated Care and Healthier Communities” was developed for a consortium of healthcare organizations brought together by Innovation Associates and the New England Healthcare Assembly in the mid-1990s.  These organizations sponsored the work because they wanted their managers to get a better understanding, via simulated experience, of the many changes going on in health care at that time. The Microworld was based on extensive data from the field and the collective experience of 100+ people collaborating on its development.
The Microworld contains three modules with different emphases.  The first focuses on the organization and management of healthcare delivery systems.  Participants can play different roles as managers of physician groups, hospitals and other institutional providers, and insurance entities.  They can craft strategies that improve their own positions, but quickly learn the value of collaborative strategies that improve the delivery system’s overall performance.
The second module deals with strategies for improving the health of a community.  Participants operate a “Health Improvement Authority” that invests in a wide range of health interventions from better management of chronically-ill patients to behavioral change aimed at stopping smoking and excessive drinking to social services and job training designed to reduce the stresses of everyday life.  A third module enables participants to combine the first two and act as managers of a health plan who can invest in a combination of delivery system improvements and health interventions to see which ones offer the best results.
Opening screen of Healthcare Microworld, introducing development partners
All Materials Copyright Gary B. Hirsch
Overview of causal relationships in the healthcare delivery module, linking performance improvement investments with performance measures.
Overview of relationships driving illness rates, utilization of care, and flow of patients through the delivery system
Participants Make Investment Decisions as Managers of:
Acute Care Hospitals
Primary Care Groups
Graphs let participants drill down into the system and understand the causes of poor performance
Overview of how health improvement investments can affect health status measures
Decisions Made by Participants as Managers of “Health Improvement Authority” about Investments in:
Services to Reduce Social Risk
Public Health Services
Health Care MicroWorld Paper
(.pdf - 288k)
Healthcare Simulators