King's professor creates predictive modelling to support resource planning at LHSC during COVID-19
July 9, 2021
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the challenges faced by hospitals was how to predict the needs for beds, equipment and human resources. The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has relied on modelling from various sources to anticipate potential human resource, bed and equipment needs. One of those resources is a project that involved Felipe F. Rodrigues, Assistant Professor, Operations Management of the School of Management, Economics, and Mathematics (MEM) at King’s and instructor in Analytics and Decision Sciences (ADS).
Dr. Greg Zaric of Ivey Business School, who had been Dr. Rodrigues’ former PhD advisor, invited his former student to become part of the project. Dr. Rodrigues’ PhD dissertation and the focus of his research is on optimization and planning of ICU capacity. He had developed Step-down capacity models for University Hospital as well as ICU patient Length-of-stay and outcome (mortality, long-stays) prediction models and short-term capacity planning models.
“The expertise I developed during my PhD with the literature, novel methodology, and programming software made me a natural fit. At King’s, I teach Operations Management (MOS 3330) and Analytics (MOS 2298; ADS 4293), so such challenges where right up my alley,” says Dr. Rodrigues.
The models created continue to help LHSC plan and operationalize their capacity and processes to handle the surges in demand caused by COVID-19. LHSC had to reallocate beds, respirators, nurses and other resources into different units because of the pandemic.
Dr. Rodrigues says this was “a massive endeavor in an organization the size of LHSC. For example, they currently have almost 4,000 nurses in their payroll. Hopefully, those models helped LHSC provide the best care it could, given its constrained resources, for its patients and, better still, save many lives.”
Dr. Rodrigues hopes this project will help to LHSC becoming even more agile and look to analytical models, like the ones created by this project, as tools to help with decision-making.
“Given the amount of data that they generate, it seems a logical fit to incorporate quantitative analytical models fed by such data, help reduce costs and provide the best care possible to their patients,” says Dr. Rodrigues.
Everyone involved in the project hopes that the work will carry on. In the future, the partnership with LHSC may provide more opportunities for faculty to produce high quality research as well as opportunities for King’s students and alumni in the field of Analytics and Decision sciences (ADS).
“The types of professionals that LHSC and all health care organizations will need match precisely the types of graduates that our Minor in ADS will provide. These are jobs in high demand, extremely rewarding, challenging and high paying, even for recent graduates,” says Dr. Rodrigues.
LHSC first asked for advice from the academic community came in early 2020. A team, led by Dr. Matt Meyer (LHSC/Ivey Business School, Dr. Wael Haddara (LHSC), Dr. Lauren Cipriano, Dr. Mehmet Begen, Dr. Greg Zaric (Ivey) and Dr. Rodrigues embarked on the two-fold project. They designed models to estimate the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in London-Middlesex. This would allow LHSC to conduct capacity planning in response to the increase in the demand for ICU beds.
London Health Sciences Centre has been very pleased with the results of the project. In a statement, Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor, Interim President and CEO of LHSC said “we now have a more reliable way to predict the impact of receiving patients from hospital partners on top of local unscheduled care needs. The modelling is flexible and gives us the confidence we were looking for to ensure we can continue to safely serve our own community while helping ease the pressures in harder hit areas like Brampton and Mississauga.”