CHICAGO–(COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Chicago recently expanded its community outreach program as part of Chicago City Council’s efforts to immunize residents of some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods with low adoption. This meant doubling the daily capacity. It was the use of an innovative planning tool, offered free of charge by simulation experts Simul8, which helped make this possible.
Targeting an additional 500 vaccinations in one day for residents of the Brighton Park community – mostly Hispanics and other ethnic minorities, and who were reluctant or unable to come forward – the hospital had a week to prepare.
Saint Anthony’s had administered between 300 and 500 vaccinations per day, so for the day of the pop-up clinic it would require significant changes in resources and patient journey planning, and then again four weeks later for the second doses. .
The hospital turned to technology for help, using advanced modeling software to generate a dual-capacity patient flow simulation to make the necessary adjustments. This was made possible by the generous pro bono support of Simul8. The company has reached out to healthcare organizations throughout the pandemic to offer free access to its software for use in everything from planning intensive care beds to COVID testing or deploying immunizations.
Dr Eden Takhsh, Vice President and Quality Manager at Saint Anthony Hospital, explained, “A digital model was created to visualize exactly what would be needed to scale up our efforts. This allowed us to test and optimize everything from the number of additional registers and the duration of each vaccination, to the reconfiguration of the physical space and the creation of a secure patient flow.
“It’s important to remember that getting the vaccine is an important event for everyone who walks through our doors, especially when we’re trying to build the confidence of those who are nervous or suspicious. It was imperative that we provide the same high level of service to everyone to make the experience as positive as possible.
“I was also aware of the added pressure on our staff. The only way to be successful was to have a well-organized system, and simulation was essential in making these important optimization decisions. ”
On that day, a total of 470 vaccines were administered.