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System dynamics modeling in health and medicine: a systematic literature review

Negar Darabi and Niyousha Hosseinichimeh

System Dynamics Review, 2020, vol. 36, issue 1, 29-73

Abstract: This article reports the first systematic literature review of system dynamics (SD) applications in health and medicine published between 1960 and 2018. We categorize SD contributions into three groups—disease‐related modeling, organizational modeling, and regional health modeling—and explore major trends and approaches. We then focus on disease‐related modeling and discuss (1) common structures underlying models of infectious and noninfectious diseases, (2) major findings and modeling insights, and (3) avenues for future modeling efforts. While application areas cover a wide range of contexts, a considerable level of quality variation is observable, particularly in regards to model documentation, use of data, and model validation. While these shortcomings are not specific to SD modeling—and other schools of modeling often suffer from similar problems—we invite the community to address the issues both as authors and reviewers. Our study provides a reference document for several exemplary SD models, which is especially useful for early career modelers. © 2020 System Dynamics Society

Date: 2020
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