The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on hospital bed capacity, staff, personal protective equipment and critical medications, forcing providers to make quick decisions when it comes to allocating resources.

To assist providers, Vizient has developed several calculators that provide actionable intelligence around resource consumption and anticipated demand of critical supplies and services. Specifically, these calculators help members (1) determine expected COVID-19 surges and how those may impact hospital utilization, (2) anticipate demand for medications required for mechanically ventilated patients, and (3) gain insight into personal protective equipment burn rate.

Accuracy of COVID surge demand calculator validated

Sg2’s COVID-19 Surge Demand Calculator is a scenario planning tool that calculates market-specific, age-adjusted projections of non-ICU bed, ICU bed and ventilator demand, based on varying transmission rates, mitigation and containment strategies. Released to the public in April the calculator incorporates infectious disease modeling specific to COVID-19 and has been recognized for its accuracy both by members and the public.

The calculator enables users to identify where the market is on the timeline of the COVID-19 infection outbreak based on first-known community-acquired COVID-19 hospitalization date. It also enables users to understand the impact of varying rates of disease spread, including scenarios that consider social distancing efforts, population density and demographics, such as age.

“The most sensitive piece of information for predicting a surge is the time from the first community-acquired COVID-19 hospitalization to when social distancing measures were enacted. If the time was 14 days or less, we found that the curve was significantly blunted,” says Madeline McDowell, principal, intelligence, Sg2, part of the Vizient family of companies. “The calculator has been valuable in informing hospital planning and resource allocation efforts.”

Two recent Vizient reports validate the accuracy of the Sg2 COVID-19 Surge Demand Calculator. The validation documents show the calculator accurately modelled the average daily census (ADC) peak for COVID-19 cases and ongoing trajectories in seven U.S. cities, including Albany, Georgia, Chicago, Dallas, Milwaukee, New York City, San Antonio and San Francisco.

Sg2 accurately modeled both the initial ADC peak magnitude and timing that Dallas experienced as well as the resurgence that occurred with reopening the economy. (See graph below.)

COVID-19 ADC Trends Compared to Sg2 Surge Demand Projections: Dallas, Texas

Based on feedback from users, Sg2 has continued to refine the model to better help health care organizations with planning efforts. New features allow users to select multiple social distancing steps and customize different scenarios to anticipate changes based on local market behavior.

“The wonderful value of the updated tool is to be able to model up to three different scenarios to understand best- and worst-case scenarios for ADC demand,” adds McDowell. “It helps uncover your vulnerabilities and what the magnitude of a surge would look like.”

Accurately project ventilator medication demand

COVID-19 has created unprecedented demand for ventilators and the associated medications required to support mechanically ventilated patients. In partnership with member Ochsner Health, Vizient’s Pharmacy Solutions team has developed a tool for use at no cost to accurately project additional demand for these medications over a four-week period, by total dosage and by quantity.

Members work with a Vizient pharmacy advisor to provide several inputs. Those inputs include the current number of COVID patients on ventilation, estimates of expected patients for the upcoming four weeks, typical dosage for each drug and expected utilization of each drug.

Once the inputs are gathered, the report details how many milligrams or micrograms of each drug a health system needs, week by week for four weeks. The report also predicts how many vials of each product the facility should purchase.

“We’ve heard from members that the tool is quick and easy to navigate and provides accurate and objective data to help guide planning and purchasing efforts,” says Larry Huang, manager, pharmacy analytics for Vizient.

Members can request as many analyses as they need and virtually any member can benefit from the ventilator medication demand projection tool.

“We’ve had requests for analyses from members who have received a lot of COVID-19 patients and want to better predict medication needs down the road,” says Huang. “Smaller and rural hospitals that haven’t had any COVID patients yet have also benefitted from the calculator. These hospitals want to start the planning process early so they’re not overwhelmed.”

Predict PPE burn rate to better prepare

Ensuring adequate PPE for frontline providers, hospital staff and administrators, including respirators, gloves, face shields and gowns, has proved challenging during the pandemic. To help organizations, Vizient developed the PPE Conservation Impact Calculator. The tool was created using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration guidelines, but fill some of the gaps that other, similar tools don’t address.

The calculator enables members to calculate their use of PPE using several scenarios that can impact burn rate. It also allows members to evaluate conservation strategies for specific products, such as how adopting a no-cosmetics policy could improve mask conservation.

“How a member would evaluate conservation strategies for gloves is very different than for N95 masks,” says Beth Godsey, vice president, data science and methodology. “The same conservation strategies won’t apply to all products, so I think that flexibility and the specificity of individual factors within the conservation strategy has been very helpful for members.”

Godsey believes the calculator has value beyond COVID-19. For example, members can evaluate the impact of reopening elective procedures on PPE use or make decisions about more global PPE practices based on the hospital’s needs and patient populations.

For more resources and to learn more about how Vizient is responding the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Vizientinc.com/COVID.