As our focus turns to not only beating COVID-19, but also opening our economy back up, Leavitt Partners Insight (LPI) launched a COVID-19 Burden Index to help United States providers and public health officials track and measure the requirements of COVID-19. The Burden Index can be used to estimate the percent of normal hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity currently in use in each county and hospital (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients are included in the count) in near-real time. The tool can also project burden up to three weeks into the future and is updated daily.
Reviewing the model, of the nearly 3,000 hospitals with at least one staffed ICU bed, 154 hospitals are exceeding their ICU capacity as compared to sixty-seven hospitals exceeding their usual inpatient bed capacity, possibly due to cancellations of elective admissions. These facilities are faced with implementing surge capacity measures to accommodate additional patient demand.
According to the model, COVID-19 cases nationwide are expected to peak in early June, with an expected 2,052 counties (representing almost 271 million Americans) over capacity for hospital beds and 2,309 counties (representing 304 million people) exceeding normal ICU capacity. Peaks in different counties and states will occur at different times, and projections will update over time as measures to increase social distancing continue.
LPI hopes that this tool, when combined with other complementary data in the LPI Torch Insight platform, can be used to identify to identify where resources are most needed. This may help to allocate resources among hot spots and the country effectively.
“This tool provides a constantly updated projection of where we are headed. It is not a static prediction because we know that administrators and health officials will continue to make improvements in our nation’s capacity to handle patients. We encourage interested parties to use this complimentary resource to enhance their operational response to COVID-19,” says John Fiacco, president and CEO of Torch Insight. “We will update projections as new data about COVID-19 becomes available, so check our dedicated site often for the most current data.”
Projections for total cases is centered around the current confirmed cases, based on data using confirmed cases of COVID-19 from Johns Hopkins University. The projections calculate regional and hospital-level burden based on expected need from peer-reviewed research and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on COVID-19 morbidity in the United States, Census Bureau data on age distributions in counties, and data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on hospital cost report and hospital service areas. LPI uses all of that data to estimate the number of COVID-19 hospital and ICU cases each hospital and county can expect to see, based on demographics and current number of active COVID-19 cases.
Healthcare providers and hospitals can use this tool to determine the number of available beds to re open elective surgery. Right now there is a huge backlog of surgical patients. One hospital UCSF this past week in a grand rounds stated they have a 40 week backlog of elective surgeries. COVID-19 may be with us for a while, tools like this allow us to make decisions using data.