Ensuring facilities have what they need for a pandemic

When the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hit the state of Illinois, no one really knew what to expect. Would OSF HealthCare hospitals be overwhelmed with patients like health care facilities in New York City? Did the organization need to bring in more staff, and start ordering as much Personal Protective Equipment as possible? Should the health care system secure access to the Peoria Civic Center in case it runs out of space for patients?

These were all concerning and very real questions OSF HealthCare had to ask, knowing the virus would likely make its way to the many areas the Ministry serves. But first, leaders had to understand how COVID-19 would impact each of its communities across Illinois as well as in Michigan. Advanced Analytics helped the organization get a handle on how many individuals could get the disease in each region through the creation of the OSF Pandemic Impact Model.

Going a step further, the team built the Pandemic Capacity Management Model, another predictive tool, to gain foresight into any capacity constraints health care facilities could face if they were overwhelmed with patients. Both models have been critical in the fight against the virus.

Pandemic Capacity Management Model

The OSF Pandemic Impact and Capacity Management Models work hand-in-hand to anticipate needs across the organization. Pandemic Impact Model data feeds into the Capacity Management tool, along with length of stay projections and information from each medical facility, such as bed counts, staff needs and medical devices, to accurately forecast staffing and supply needs.

“Based on various scenarios, we can pinpoint how many days we have until we hit capacity on any number of items,” said Chris Franciskovich, director of Advanced Analytics. “That allows our planning team to increase resources at facilities that need it most before it’s too late.”

The OSF Pandemic Impact Model quickly minimized fears of overcrowding at a majority of OSF HealthCare facilities. The model projected there wouldn’t be nearly as many COVID-19 cases in downstate Illinois compared to larger cities like Chicago. The Capacity Management tool showed OSF HealthCare likely wouldn’t need an overabundance of space, staff and supplies at its hospitals.

“With that information, we were able to shift our focus on how to optimize capacity in each of our regions,” said Emily Shields, vice president of Business Development and lead on pandemic planning efforts from a business perspective. “As additional space is needed in certain hospitals, we can look at using resources in the most effective and efficient ways possible.”

As an example, at the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak some facilities were worried about having enough negative-pressure rooms, oxygen and ventilators to properly care for patients with the disease. The Capacity Management Model helped calm those fears.

A realistic view of the pandemic 

Overall, the Pandemic Impact and Capacity Management Models gave OSF HealthCare a realistic view of how COVID-19 would impact the organization and its various facilities. That means the health care system didn’t need to expend resources and energy into getting additional non-medical spaces under contract for patient overflow, and it allowed for the sharing of resources among hospitals.

“We’ve been able to save capital and time which are valuable resources at this critical moment,” said Shields. “We are also so much better informed and have plans in place should we ever run out of space, staff or supplies. Our patients can have peace of mind that we are prepared and will be there for them, regardless of how this pandemic shakes out.”

Last Updated: May 15, 2020

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About Author: Denise Molina-Weiger

Denise Molina-Weiger is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since March 2015. She initially came to OSF to write about the work taking place at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, one of the world’s largest simulation and innovation centers and went on to become the Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Innovation which was developed to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming care.

Before joining the OSF HealthCare team, Denise was a reporter for Peoria Public Radio for ten years, writing on everything from politics, housing and transportation issues to hospital care in the region. She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Western Illinois University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004.

Denise lives in West Peoria with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. In her spare time, she likes to snuggle on the couch with her family and watch cooking shows on Netflix. She loves taking road trips with her family and then complaining about it when they are over.

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Categories: COVID-19, Innovation