Designing and Implementing Simulation Exercises for State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service
Authors: Robert Waszkowski, Tadeusz Nowicki, Agata Chodowska Wasilewska
Abstract: The paper presents business processes related to the work of sanitary services in cases of an epidemic of foodborne diseases. On their basis, simulation exercises according to given scenarios were developed. The work is related to the implementation of a project financed by the National Center for Research and Development. The activities of the staff of the county-level State Sanitary Inspectorate were analyzed in terms of actions taken in crisis situations related to the emergence of a large food poisoning outbreak or an epidemic of food-borne infectious disease. The same analysis was carried out in the scope of actions performed by individual teams participating in the simulation exercises. The result of the analysis was presented in the form of business process diagrams made in BPMN notation. The architecture of the simulation exercise support system assumes the use of a number of components responsible for the preparation of data and exercise scenarios, the implementation of exercises in training teams, supervision by exercise management, monitoring of the current course of the exercise, and review after activities.Business processes perfectly illustrate what activities are performed by individual groups of people during exercises and allow for monitoring and measuring indicators of the team’s work effectiveness. Business processes have been divided into two groups of processes. The first group of processes concerns activities performed only by persons exercising. These are processes that describe the activities performed during an epidemiological inquiry. In this case, describing the activities in the form of a process allows the practitioners to increase the speed of reaction in making decisions that directly affect the course of the investigation because they have at their disposal the entire range of data processed by the process along with the full picture of the situation.The second group of business processes describes the activities of the teams for preparing exercises, play-offs, and evaluating the results in the form of a simulation exercise scenario. The activities listed in this group of processes allow the participants of the above-mentioned teams for the efficient management of the tasks of the training team, for monitoring their activities, and for full control of the simulation. The training preparation team receives tasks related to the preparation of the environment and data for a given exercise scenario and the commissioning of individual system components at the start of the simulation exercises. The play-off team receives tasks related to the preparation of answers to the questions of the practitioners, reactions to decisions made by the practitioner team, and the control of the simulation time. The results analysis team receives tasks related to the analysis of the history of processes, the analysis of decisions and actions, the assessment of the course of exercises, and the skills of the training team. Each team receives a full range of data processed by individual processes in this group.The processes of both groups are interconnected. Activities undertaken by the training team within the processes of the first group directly affect the appearance of activities in the processes of the second group. Mutual communication within the performed tasks allows for simulation exercises in accordance with the modeled exercise scenario. The simulation exercise support system records each action and decision of the participants in the history of the processes along with the exact timestamp and a record of who performed the action. The concept of the AAR subsystem (after action review) is based on historical data of tasks performed within the framework of the processes, enabling the reconstruction of the course of the exercise with the possibility of starting the exercise from a selected moment. The paper will also present the methodology of designing interfaces for a system of computer-aided simulation exercises.
Keywords: Decision Support Systems, Process Optimization, sanitary and epidemiological service, simulation exercises
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