A simulation-based decision support tool for informing the management of patients with Parkinson’s disease
We describe a decision support toolkit that was developed with the aim of assisting those responsible with the management and treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the UK. Having created a baseline model and established its face validity, the toolkit captures the complexity of PD services at a sufficient level and operates within a user friendly environment, that is, an interface was built to allow users to specify their own local PD service and input their own estimates or data of service demands and capacities. The main strength of this decision support tool is the adoption of a team approach to studying the system, involving six PD specialist nurses across the country, ensuring that variety of views and suggestions are taken as well as systems modelling and simulations. The tool enables key decision makers to estimate the likely impact of changes, such as increased use of community services on activity, cost, staffing levels, skill-mix, and utilisation of resources. Such previously unobtainable quantitative information can be used to support business cases for changes in the increased use of community services and its impact on clinical outcomes (disease progression), nurse visits and costing.