Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago recently expanded its community outreach program as part of Chicago City Council’s efforts to vaccinate people from some of the city’s most deprived neighborhoods where adoption had been low. This meant doubling daily capacity. It was the use of an innovative planning tool, offered free of charge from simulation experts Simul8, that helped to make this possible.
Targeting 500 additional vaccinations in one day for the people of the Brighton Park community – mostly Hispanic and from other ethnic minorities, and that were reluctant or unable to come forward – the hospital had one week to prepare.
Saint Anthony’s had been delivering between 300-500 vaccinations per day, so for the day of the pop-up clinic there would need to be significant changes to resourcing and patient pathway planning, and then again four weeks later for second doses.
The Hospital turned to technology for help, using advanced modeling software to generate a simulation of patient flow at double capacity in order to make the necessary adjustments. This was made possible following generous pro bono support from Simul8. The company has been reaching out to healthcare organizations throughout the pandemic to offer free access to its software to be used in anything from ICU bed planning to COVID testing or the vaccination roll-out.
Dr Eden Takhsh, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Saint Anthony Hospital, explained: “A digital model was created to visualize exactly what would be required to upscale our efforts. It enabled us to test and optimize everything from the number of additional registrars to how long each vaccination should take, how to reconfigure the physical space, and how to create a safe patient flow.
“It’s important to remember that receiving the vaccine is a significant event for everyone coming through our doors, especially when we are trying to build confidence in those that are nervous or suspicious. It was imperative that we provided the same high level of service for everyone to make the experience as positive as possible.
“I was also mindful of the extra pressure on our staff. The only way to succeed was to have a well-organized system set up, and the simulation was essential in making these important decisions around optimization.”
On the day, a total of 470 vaccinations were administered.