UCLA releases system for projecting use of hospital resources during COVID-19 surge

Sept. 9, 2020

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is making available to the public a web-based interface for projecting the use of hospital resources during a COVID-19 surge, according to a press release from UCLA.

The system projects usage for up to a few weeks, since such short-term predictions are highly accurate, while still useful to provide guidelines for policymakers. The system has been in place since mid-April, helping UCLA Health model the resource needs during the first COVID-19 patient surge in Los Angeles. The system is now available for use by other health systems through a web interface hosted at UCLA.

“Our approach models the rate of change in the number of COVID-19 patients in the community, as well as the resources used by these patients as a function of their demographic characteristics, for example, their age,” says Eran Halperin, PhD, Professor in the Department of Computational Medicine. “This results in accurate predictions of resource usage that can be adapted by hospitals in different parts of the country and we developed a publicly available tool for them to use,” he added.

The projections for hospital resource usage have two components. The first is the amount of resources that currently hospitalized COVID patients will utilize before they are discharged, while the second is the number of patients with COVID who will arrive at the hospital and the future resources that they will utilize.

With the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increasing in many parts of the country, healthcare systems are again preparing for a possible surge. However, plans for managing a new surge are fundamentally different than was the case earlier this year. With greater availability of testing and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as clinical advancements in treating COVID-19, health systems are trying to accommodate COVID-19 patients while simultaneously providing care for the rest of their patients.

To access the system, go to stopcovid19together.org/hospital.

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