Mathematical modelling and its application to social care

Squires H, Tappenden P


This review summarises key mathematical modelling methods, with a focus upon those methods currently applied within healthcare modelling, and suggests previous and potential applications of these methods within the field of social care.

A summary is offered of the model development process, including the use of problem structuring methods, literature reviewing, elicitation and uncertainty analysis. Specific modelling methods such as decision trees, state transition models and discrete event simulation are described, with an outline of their strengths and limitations. Current approaches for quantifying outcomes within health economic evaluation are also briefly discussed.

The review highlights particular issues which may need to be considered when applying these modelling methods to social care.

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