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What is a model?

Economic, predictive and simulation modelling are approaches we use to test scenarios or generate information within a simplified framework designed to illustrate complex processes.  A model is a simplification of the real world.  A model will allow us to test more scenarios or generate information that we may not get from other data.

A model is basically a method to quantify effects of policy on health. It does this by:

  • Assessing and comparing the impact of alternative public health intervention

  • Demonstrating the health consequences of decisions

  • Informing real decisions

In Wirral we currently use two forms of modelling - predictive modelling and simulation modelling.

Predictive Modelling

Predictive modelling quantifies the effects of health initiatives and interventions on health outcomes such as mortality and the occurrence of disease. It can also estimate the benefits of clinical and health interventions and include information about cost effectiveness information.

Examples of use

Simulation Modelling

Simulation models are computerised processes that are designed to cope with a wide range of complex systems. They provide evidence about how to cope with random problems, as alternatives to learning by doing or empirical research. They also aim to develop corporate knowledge about how changes in service delivery in one sector affect health outcomes and performance.  We used SIMUL8 and iThink which allows complex system dynamic modelling.

Example of use
  • Wirral Drug and Alcohol Simulation Model
    Drug and alcohol abuse impacts on the individual, families and wider communities.  As well as leading to health problems, injury, and even death, it can impact on family relationships, ability to work, crime, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour.  The intention is to try to create a base case of needs, demands and costs for drug and alcohol programmes in Wirral

For more information on our research approach, this Modelling work, or to find out if we could help you in your area of work, please contact the Wirral Intelligence Service at

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