The University of Arizona
The University of Arizona -College of Nursing


Nurse managers make many decisions about how to improve quality and safety outcomes on their units, but lack the tools to test the consequences of those decisions on patient safety prior to their implementation. We are developing a simulation tool (DyNADS) that allows nurse managers or designated staff to: (a) simulate virtual nursing units functionally equivalent to their own; (b) use the simulation to identify the structural basis for potential errors and patterns that promote or inhibit quality care; then (c) predict, using the simulated nursing unit as a test bed, the likely impact of changing unit characteristics such as staffing, culture, physical layout, communication networks, and organizational structure—singly and in combination—on the actual unit’s quality and safety outcomes.  

DyNADS (Dynamic Network Analysis Decision Support) incorporates two applications developed at Carnegie Mellon University by Dr. Kathleen Carley (one of the PIs for the project) and her team:  OrgAhead, a predictive modeling simulation, and *ORA (Organizational Risk Analyzer), which is a network analysis tool.  With ORA we can simulate the communication network of nursing units.  With OrgAhead, we are able to evaluate the productivity of the unit and the impact of various structural and process variables on patient safety and quality outcomes. 

For more about the DyNADS project, see

To learn more about *ORA, see *ORA


This research is funded by a grant from the National Library of Medicine (NIH) 1R01LM009516-01A1. 

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The University of Arizona and Carnegie Mellon --A Collaborative Project

The University of Arizona College of Nursing CASOS -Carnegie Mellon