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Model Forecasts When COVID-19 Demand Will Exceed Capacity

Simulation helps hospital operations leaders anticipate surges, predict saturation

TUESDAY, April 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model (CHIME), a publicly available tool, can help hospitals predict the timing of saturated capacity, according to a report published online April 7 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Gary E. Weissman, M.D., M.S.H.P., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues developed CHIME, a susceptible-infected-removed model, to predict the saturation of hospital capacity and best-case and worst-case scenarios to assist in the allocation of resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors tested their model using patients with COVID-19 alone in three University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) hospitals and estimated the time from March 23, 2020, to when hospital capacity would likely be exceeded.

The researchers found that it would be 31 to 53 days until hospital demand would exceed UPHS capacity, according to CHIME estimates. Across all three hospitals, the estimated total need for hospital beds was 3,131 and 12,650 in best-case and worst-case scenarios, respectively. CHIME predicted best-case to worst-case needs would be 338 to 1,608 intensive care unit beds and 118 to 599 ventilators, respectively.

"Publicly available and designed for hospital operations leaders, this modeling tool can inform preparations for capacity strain during the early days of a pandemic," the authors write. "Further work is needed to prospectively validate this model and to further refine analytic approaches that inform planning strategies for future epidemics."

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

Abstract/Full Text

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