Engaging Healthcare Staff and Stakeholders in Healthcare Simulation Modeling to Better Translate Research Into Health Impact: A Systematic Review

Thea Simone Zabell, Katrina M Long, Debbie Scott, Judith Hope, Ian McLoughlin, Joanne Enticott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To identify processes to engage stakeholders in healthcare Simulation Modeling (SM), and the impacts of this engagement on model design, model implementation, and stakeholder participants. To investigate how engagement process may lead to specific impacts. Data Sources: English-language articles on health SM engaging stakeholders in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science and Business Source Complete databases published from inception to February 2020. Study Design: A systematic review of the literature based on a priori protocol and reported according to PRISMA guidelines. Extraction Methods: Eligible articles were SM studies with a health outcome which engaged stakeholders in model design. Data were extracted using a data extraction form adapted to be specific for stakeholder engagement in SM studies. Data were analyzed using summary statistics, deductive and inductive content analysis, and narrative synthesis. Principal Findings: Thirty-two articles met inclusion criteria. Processes used to engage stakeholders in healthcare SM are heterogenous and often based on intuition rather than clear methodological frameworks. These processes most commonly involve stakeholders across multiple SM stages via discussion/dialogue, interviews, workshops and meetings. Key reported impacts of stakeholder engagement included improved model quality/accuracy, implementation, and stakeholder decision-making. However, for all but four studies, these reports represented author perceptions rather than formal evaluations incorporating stakeholder perspectives. Possible process enablers of impact included the use of models as “boundary objects” and structured facilitation via storytelling to promote effective communication and mutual understanding between stakeholders and modelers. Conclusions: There is a large gap in the current literature of formal evaluation of SM stakeholder engagement, and a lack of consensus about the processes required for effective SM stakeholder engagement. The adoption and clear reporting of structured engagement and process evaluation methodologies/frameworks are required to advance the field and produce evidence of impact.

Original languageEnglish
Article number644831
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Health Services
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2021


  • data driven (DD)
  • data driven healthcare organization (DDHA)
  • healthcare improvement
  • participatory research
  • simulation model
  • stakeholder engagement
  • translation

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