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Discrete event simulation and pharmacy process re-engineering

Khalid Al Badi (Department of Administration and Financial Affairs, Buraimi Hospital, Al-Buraimi, Oman) (Department of Business and Accounting, Al-Buraimi College, Al-Buraimi, Oman)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 11 March 2019

Issue publication date: 11 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is to describe a case study undertaken at Al Buraimi Hospital in Oman, which used computer simulation and the Delphi approach to improve efficiency by reducing prescription dispensing waiting times.


This study’s framework was based on a discrete event simulation (DES) to identify the as-is pharmacy process and to create a to-be (future situation) to achieve an improvement in pharmacy workflow and service quality. Owing to healthcare environment complexity, and to gain a deeper understanding about Al Buraimi Hospital pharmacy problems, a Delphi technique was also used.


Based on Delphi, and according to the expert panel suggestions, two alternative scenarios were proposed to improve Al Buraimi Hospital pharmacy efficiency: fast-track and direct-dispensing, which should help to reduce the prescription dispensing waiting time process by 7.3 and 9.8 min, respectively.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation is the pharmacists’ shortage, which may affect the prescription dispensing process’s quality as insufficient manpower to check the prescriptions may increase the medication errors’ risk.


Based on this case study’s real-world data, findings can be used to improve public healthcare sector pharmacy efficiency. The DES can be used in healthcare services to describe and test actual and proposed situations.



Al Badi, K. (2019), "Discrete event simulation and pharmacy process re-engineering", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 398-411.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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