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Engineering Design Centre

Dr Alexander Komashie


Dr Alexander Komashie

Dr Alexander Komashie

Senior Research Associate in Healthcare Systems Design

Research groups: Healthcare Design Group, Process Management Group
Telephone: +44 1223 768448

Personal website

Photo of Dr Alexander Komashie


  • Ph.D. Systems Engineering, Brunel University, UK, 2009
  • M.Sc. Advanced Manufacturing Systems (Distinction), Brunel University, UK, 2004
  • B.Sc. Mechanical Engineering (1st Class), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, 2001
  • Diploma Mechanical Engineering (Distinction), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, 1998
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), September 2017
  • THIS Institute Post-doctoral Interdisciplinary Fellow, July 2018

Alexander joined the EDC in December 2009 after completing his PhD in Brunel University, UK. His PhD, “Information-Theoretic and Stochastic Methods for Managing the Quality of Service and Satisfaction in Healthcare Systems” proposed the "E-Track NHS" system which looked at the application of real-time Discrete Event Simulation for improving healthcare system performance. He therefore has a keen interest in the use of the systems approach and particularly the modelling and simulation of healthcare systems. Alexander is currently involved in a DoH sponsored project – Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for the East of England. The CLAHRC team is multi-disciplinary, involving the Engineering Design Centre, the Judge Business School, Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Public Health in the University of Cambridge and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

Alexander has recently been awarded a THIS Institute Post-doctoral Interdisciplinary Fellowship for research into Health Systems Visualisation.

Alexander also has research interest in improving Engineering Education and is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Current Research:

DIAGRAMS: Co-Design of an Integrated Diagrammatic Systems Modelling language (iDSML) for Healthcare


“Systems that work do not just happen – they have to beplanned, designed and built”.

This may seem an obvious statement but the non-trivial question that logically follows is this – how do you design a system that works? The extent to which rigorous design is valued and practiced in an organisation or sector makes a significant difference to quality and performance. This research is concerned with developing a language to be used in a rigorous approach to the design of healthcare systems.


Medical doctors understand how the human body works and can describe all the parts that have to work well together for the whole person to be healthy.

Similarly, engineers understand how a car, for example, works and can describe in detail all the parts that have to work well together for the whole car to be safe and fun to drive.

And, when it comes to a healthcare service as a whole, which we refer to as a system, there are many parts that need to work together just like a car or the human body. However, we often don’t understand the various parts that have to work well together in order for the whole service to deliver quality and safe care. This research aims to develop a new way of describing healthcare systems using simple diagrams. We hope this will help all those involved in improving health services understand how different parts should work together and be able to describe it.


In order to achieve the aim of this research, the following objectives will be addressed:

  1. A review of the academic literature to identify the most current theories for developing diagrammatic visual languages, and a review of current practice of diagramming in healthcare.
  2. Identify subsystems (categories of elements) in the healthcare domain and appropriate levels of representation in a diagrammatic language.
  3. Define collections or elements of graphical objects appropriate for representing the identified categories.
  4. Define combinations of graphical objects and texts to form the syntax of the diagrammatic language.
  5. Demonstrate the efficacy of the developed language based on measures of assessment identified in the literature and results of the research workshops.
  6. Develop a modelling process toolkit for using the language.


This research is, in a broad sense, a descriptive or exploratory Research. The research questions are not presented as hypotheses to be tested but initial assumptions to be explored and corrected as best as possible by engaging with stakeholders.  The research design involves a series of four pairs of workshops. The outcome of a preceding pair of workshops will feed into the next pair of workshops as well as providing a context for subsequent analyses. After each workshop, participants will be asked to respond to a short feedback on their experience taking part in the workshop. The purpose of this is to determine whether participants have any concerns about the setting or delivery of the workshop that may have had an impact on how they participated, and should be contextually incorporated into the analysis of the outcome.


Selected Publications

KOMASHIE, A., Lame, G., Patou, F., Ciccone, N., Maier, A., and Clarkson, P. J. (2019) Exploring Healthcare Systems Design Research and Practice: Outcomes of an international meeting, In: Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19), Delft, The Netherlands, 5-8 August 2019.

Clarkson, P.J., Dean, J., Ward, J.R., KOMASHIE, A. And Bashford, T. (2018) ‘A systems approach to healthcare: from thinking to practice’ in Future Healthcare Journal, 5(3), 151-155.

KOMASHIE, A. and  Clarkson, P. J. (2018) Designing Mental Health Delivery Systems: Describing the Relationship Between System Components, Proceedings of the 15th International Design Conference (DESIGN 2018), Dubrovnik, Croatia, 21-24 May 2018 (pp. 2669-2680).

KOMASHIE, A., Rae, S., Kar Ray, M. and Clarkson, P. J. (2017) Designing mental health delivery systems: Where do we start? In: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED17), Vol. 3: Product, Services and Systems Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21.-25.08.2017.

KOMASHIE, A. (2017) 'Combining Qualitative, Modelling and Simulation Methods for Healthcare Delivery Research', SAGE Research Methods Cases Online.

KOMASHIE, A. and  Clarkson, P. J. (2016) Can Diagrams Help Improve Healthcare Systems Design and Care Delivery? Proceedings of the 14th International Design Conference (DESIGN 2016), Dubrovnik, Croatia, 16-19 May 2016 (pp. 1885-1894).

KOMASHIE, A., Mousavi, A., Clarkson, P. J. and Young, T. (2015) 'An Integrated Model of Patient and Staff Satisfaction Using Queuing Theory' IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine, Vol. 3, 1-10.

Pearson, M., Monks, T., Gibson, A., Allen, M., KOMASHIE, A., Fordyce, A., Harris-Golesworthy, F., Pitt, M. A., Brailsford, S. and Stein, K. (2013) 'Involving patients and the public in healthcare operational research - The challenges and opportunities'. in  Operations Research for Health Care, 2. pp. 86-89. ISSN 2211-6923

KOMASHIE, A., Jun, T., Dodds, S., Rayner, H., Thane, S., Mitchell-Baker, A.and Clarkson, P. J. (2011) 'SICK SYSTEMS: Towards a generic conceptual representation of healthcare systems' Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED11), Vol. 4 (pp. 430440).

Mousavi, A., KOMASHIE, A., and Tavakoli, S. (2011) 'Simulation-Based Real-Time Performance Monitoring (SIMMON): A Platform for Manufacturing and Healthcare Systems', in Proc. 43rd Winter Simulation Conference, 2011, Arizona, USA.(S. Jain, R. R. Creasey, J. Himmelspach, K. P. White, & M. Fu, Eds.).

KOMASHIE, A., Mousavi, A. and Gore, J. (2007) 'Quality management in healthcare and industry: A comparative review and emerging themes', Journal of Management History, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 359-370.

KOMASHIE, A., Mousavi, A. and Gore, J. (2008) 'Using Discrete Event Simulation to Manage Theatre Operations in Healthcare: An Audit-Based Case Study', in Proc. 10th EUROSim/UKSim Int. Conf. Modelling and Simulation, Cambridge, UK, April 1-3, 2008.

Tavakoli, S., Mousavi, A. and KOMASHIE, A. (2008) 'A generic platform for real-time discrete event simulation modelling', in Proc. 40th Winter Simulation Conference, 2008, Miami, FL, USA.

Tavakoli, S., Mousavi, A. and KOMASHIE, A. (2008) 'Flexible data input layer architecture (FDILA) for quick-response decision making tools in volatile manufacturing systems', IEEE, ICC08 mini-conference, China.

KOMASHIE, A., Mousavi, A. and GORE, J. (2007) 'A review of historical developments of quality assessment in industry and in healthcare', in Proc. 10th Int. Conf. Quality Management and Organisational Development, 2007, Helsingborg, Sweden.

KOMASHIE, A. and Mousavi, A. (2005) 'Modelling emergency departments using discrete event simulation techniques', in Proc. 37th Winter Simulation Conference, 2005, pp. 2681-2685.