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Patient choice and hospital capacity during a pandemic

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Posted July 8, 2014

Allowing patients to choose which hospital they attend when suffering illness during a pandemic rather than assigning them to a specific healthcare facility is appealing to patients during such a crisis. However, such a patient-centric hospital capacity management is conventionally viewed as inefficient system-wide. According to research published in the International Journal of Mathematics in Operational Research, an incentive-based approach for hospital capacity management can not only accomplish a high efficiency for a concerned hospital system but satisfy patients’ preference on their choice of hospital.

Lihui Bai of the University of Louisville, Kentucky and Jiang Zhang of Adelphi University, New York, point out there have been three major influenza pandemics during the last hundred years, those that occurred in 1918, 1957 and 1968. They note that from the US perspective, the Department of Homeland Security is concerned that there will be an outbreak of common influenza, or perhaps a strain of , so-called bird flu, in the near future. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the number of hospitalizations during such a pandemic might be anywhere between 839 000 and 9 625 000, with outpatient numbering 18 to 42 million, depending on the infection rate.

Read more at: Phys.org

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