AGENT-BASED SIMULATION FOR EVALUATING THE IMPACTS OF DESIGN ON NURSES’ SPATIOTEMPORAL EXPERIENCE
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Studying dynamics of care providers’ spatial experience based on their space occupancy and activity patterns allows us to better understand the impacts of design on care providers’ outcomes. During the early stages of design, computer simulation models can be used to evaluate design options for optimizing care providers’ spatiotemporal experience. Current simulation platforms offer advanced capabilities for modeling workflows and activities but have limitations in spatial analytics. This study focuses on developing an agent-based simulation model for evaluating the spatiotemporal experience of care providers based on layout attributes. The proposed model integrates spatial analytic methods into a simulation platform in order to investigate impacts of the layout on care providers’ encounters as an example of spatiotemporal events. Observational data collected from a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit is used to inform the simulation. The model records the care provider agents’ encounters measures defined by unobstructed lines of sight between agents within a defined field of view and distance threshold, including agents’ encounter durations (CCEt) and encounter counts (CCEn). Bivariate analyses of the simulation encounter output and layout attributes show that changes in “compactness” and “betweenness” levels of bedside nurse agents’ locations are associated with changes in CCEt and CCEn measures. These associations are in alignment with records of interactions collected through on-site observations of similar locations and confirm assumptions of the present study. Enhancing simulation platforms through the integration of spatial analysis methods can provide further insights into understanding the impacts of design on building occupants’ spatiotemporal experience.