Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patient patience and pandemics: How to keep patient choice up, stress down in a pandemic

Date:
July 7, 2014
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
Allowing patients to choose which hospital they attend when suffering illness during a pandemic rather than assigning them to a specific healthcare facility could be inefficient, according to research. But incentives might redress the balance. A new proposal is based on two assignment models. The first, a decentralized, equilibrium model, describes the patient choice of hospital. The second, centralized, non-linear programming model allows the health authority to maximize resource utilization of all the hospitals in a given region.

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 avian influenza, 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.

The hospital system will inevitably be overwhelmed by such a surge in patient numbers. As such, the researchers have investigated an alternative approach to handling patients that sidesteps the conventional approach in which patients are simply assigned the hospital they must visit when they fall sick. Their approach, instead, exploits an incentive-based approach to help direct patients to alternative hospitals so that capacity shortages across all hospitals are balanced. "The hospital resources for the community as a whole are utilized most efficiently in this way," the team reports.

Their proposal is based on two assignment models. The first, a decentralized, equilibrium model, describes the patient choice of hospital. The second, centralized, non-linear programming model allows the health authority to maximize resource utilization of all the hospitals in a given region. The team has used numerical modeling to show that when responding to incentive programs at properly chosen hospitals, the patient choice of hospitals can match the one desired by the central health authority, that is, the one that utilizes resources most efficiently.

"One goal of this paper is to develop a model to describe patients' behavior in selecting a hospital with the minimum 'cost', which includes the travel time to and the service lead time at the hospital," the team says. Conversely, when patients choose hospitals on their own, it is likely to create an asymmetry of patient demand among hospitals in densely populated areas. The team's proposal therefore adds an incentive program, including financial discounts, additional fast-track service, on-site mobile pharmacy within a hospital and convenient transportation to a hospital to spread the demand more widely during a major outbreak of disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lihui Bai, Jiang Zhang. An incentive-based method for hospital capacity management in a pandemic: the assignment approach. International Journal of Mathematics in Operational Research, 2014; 6 (4): 452 DOI: 10.1504/IJMOR.2014.063157

Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Patient patience and pandemics: How to keep patient choice up, stress down in a pandemic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707152528.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2014, July 7). Patient patience and pandemics: How to keep patient choice up, stress down in a pandemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707152528.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Patient patience and pandemics: How to keep patient choice up, stress down in a pandemic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707152528.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins