This seminar took place on July 16 at 15h30, via Zoom.
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This work consists of the development of a discrete event simulation model to support decision-making for the short-term planning of hospital resource needs, especially Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, to cope with outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Given its purpose as a short-term forecasting tool, the simulation model requires an accurate representation of the current system state and high fidelity in mimicking the system dynamics from that state. The two main components of the simulation model are the stochastic modeling of patient admission and patient flow processes. The patient arrival process is modelled using a Gompertz growth model, which enables the representation of the exponential growth caused by the initial spread of the virus, followed by a period of maximum arrival rate and then a decreasing phase until the wave subsides. We conducted an empirical study concluding that the Gompertz model provides a better fit to pandemic-related data (positive cases and hospitalization numbers) and has superior prediction capacity than other sigmoid models based on Richards, Logistic, and Stannard functions. Patient flow modelling considers different pathways and dynamic length of stay estimation in several healthcare stages using patient-level data. We report on the application of the simulation model in two Autonomous Regions of Spain (Navarre and La Rioja) during the two COVID-19 waves experienced in 2020. The simulation model was employed on a daily basis to inform the regional logistic health care planning team, who programmed the ward and ICU beds based on the resulting predictions.
Daniel Garcia-Vicuña studied industrial engineering at the Public University of Navarre, Spain. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Smart Cities of the Public University of Navarre. His research interests lie in the field of complex real problems simulation modelling. He belongs to the q-UPHS (quantitative methods for Uplifting the Performance of Health Services, www.unavarra.es/quphs) research group.