Vizient, Inc. calculator accurately projects COVID-19 first-wave hospitalizations, ICU bed usage

Dec. 17, 2020

Vizient, Inc. and its subsidiary company Sg2 announced the launch of an updated COVID-19 Surge Demand Calculator.

The calculator, originally released in March, enables hospitals to utilize advanced modeling methodology vetted against regional hospital data to accurately predict hospitalization rates for projecting non-ICU, ICU and ventilation requirements. Analysis of calculator data for four major cities show:

·        Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex will see ICU-bed need double if the current infection rate trend continues to increase during the holiday season. If the rate stays constant, this area should reach peak demand in early January 2021.

·         New York City will not reach the level it saw in early 2020 but will see continued growth in ICU occupancy until late January 2021.

·         Chicago may have already reached its peak ICU occupancy barring a spike in cases due to the holidays.

·         San Francisco will see ICU-bed need more than double if the current infection rate trend continues to increase in the weeks immediately following the holiday season. If the rate stays constant, the city should reach peak demand in mid-February 2021.

The previous version of the calculator accurately projected bed demand in NYC and hospitalizations in San Antonio.

“As winter sets in and infection rates hit record numbers across the U.S., hospitals need data and insights that will help them plan and manage staffing and supply resources as well as bed capacity,” said Madeline McDowell, MD, FAAP, principal and medical director for Sg2. “Modeling hospital surges has changed from the springtime. We have updated our Surge Demand Calculator to reflect the evolving facts on the ground, such as improved understanding of treatment, new capacity constraints and changes in behavior of the population at large.”

The calculator is a data-driven, scenario-planning tool for non-ICU bed, ICU bed and ventilator demand. It enables users to model COVID-19 patient surge impact across local populations and to apply capacity considerations for regional market, health system and individual hospital planning. The calculator incorporates infectious disease modeling — susceptible, infected, recovered (SIR) — specific to COVID-19, while simultaneously applying age and cohort-specific indications, and has been vetted by hospital systems, biostatisticians, and epidemiologic and pandemic experts.

“There are few simple solutions available to us as we face this pandemic, but access to relevant, real-time, localized and accurate data is clearly important,” said McDowell. “Population behavior, transmission rates of the virus, and hospital capacity and practice patterns differ greatly by geography, and as more data became available to us, we were able to further fine-tune this tool to account for those differences. It is an instrument born of hospital data, to be used by hospitals as they move forward into 2021.”

As additional data became available, the following observations were made over the fall:

·         While infection rates are steadily rising, the U.S. is not close to herd immunity, which is estimated to be above 70 percent. Primary surge markets are estimated to have the highest immunity rates, approaching 30 percent by October.

·         Overall hospital utilization per infected person has declined as younger, healthier populations have become infected and treatments have advanced.

·         Rising acuity for delayed care for non-COVID-19 conditions has driven in-patient demand and occupancy rates.

Many ICUs are not able to operate at 100 percent capacity due to staffing shortages from burnout, leaves of absence, unplanned absences and declines in available contract labor.

Anticipated winter trends:

·         Second/third waves will drive inpatient case surges as populations move indoors.

·         Social distancing measures, flu vaccine adherence and rising immunity levels will help offset surges but will vary by market.

·         Hospitals’ ability to remain open for elective procedures will largely hinge on workforce capacity. Increased cancellations of scheduled surgeries will likely be necessary across the U.S., but unlike in the spring they will be tailored to select procedures and sites, and for more limited durations.

·         Staff shortages will challenge hospitals’ ability to flex up during surges, particularly for ICU care. Increased ICU demand for higher acuity, non-COVID-19 conditions will further strain critical nursing resources.

Vizient, Inc. has the release.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.