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Healthcare Systems Engineering Research Colloquia: Forecasting Cardiac ICU Bed Demand

Speaker: Dr. Christina Pagel, Senior Research Fellow, Clinical Operational Research Unit, University College London

Abstract: The cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) at Great Ormond Street Hospital cares for children recovering from heart surgery or with severe heart failure. About 70% of admissions are planned admissions from theatre, the remainder being emergency admissions either from within the hospital or referred externally. Length of stay on the ward is very variable, ranging from less than a day to several months. Planned surgeries only take place on week days, with some days being particularly busy. These factors contribute to variability in demand for CICU and can lead to demand exceeding capacity. This results in surgeries that are cancelled on the day which is stressful for children and their families as well as clinical staff.

We worked with clinicians, nursing staff and the data manager at CICU to produce a software tool implemented in Microsoft Excel that provides a forecast for bed demand on CICU for the next week. Information about current patients, planned arrivals from surgery and daily rate of emergency arrivals is used to generate an overall probability distribution for demand for beds. Working closely with CICU staff meant that we were able to tailor the software to meet their needs. The tool has been used daily within the unit since handover in October 2012.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Snell Engineering, 308

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Healthcare Systems Engineering Institute

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