It is a fact that healthcare systems are among the most relevant tasks for governments due the essential social impact of sanitary policy and the increasing budget experienced along the last decades. The complicated questions arising in this context require more than simple intuition to make good decisions. Complex systems require models with which policymakers may steer decisions in the best direction. As the title suggests, the goal of this book is precisely to show a collection of modelling tools applied in healthcare situations. The authors are members of the Complex Systems Modelling Group at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada) and, though it includes some other approaches (as psychosocial modelling or management questions) the cornerstone of the book is given in mathematical language. This work does not give a complete and rigorous presentation of mathematical techniques, but a panorama of the main tools and indications used in current advanced modelling in healthcare. Actually, potential readers just require a solid high school level of mathematics to follow the core of the book. The structure of it is organized in sixteen chapters (together with an appendix on computer packages useful in modelling), most of them structured in five sections entitled: “model overview” giving a brief description, “common uses” giving a list of examples that the modelling technique could be used to address, “mathematical details”, “examples” applied in practice and “related reading”. The tools covered are descriptive statistics, regression analysis, game theory, graph theory, Markov models, queuing models, optimizations, etc. Even though the expert immediately realizes that such a wide variety of topics can be only covered in a superficial way, the book may represent a valuable introduction for people interested in the world of modelling in healthcare. A serious construction of a model though one (or several) of these techniques will require a deeper study than that found in this book (for example, with the help of the references provided in the related reading sections), but the mere collection of tools and applications offered in it might represent a useful reference for both academic of professional members.
Marco CASTRILLON LOPEZ
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain