Case study

Saint Anthony Hospital uses simulation technology to double its vaccination program as part of community outreach

Saint Anthony Hospital
Industry
Healthcare
Location
Chicago, U.S.
Goals
Provide greater access to Covid19 vaccinations for ethnic minority groups in high-risk areas of Chicago
Achievements with Simul8
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Doubled number of vaccinations given in one day

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Understood how to create a safe patient flow through the system

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Helped to make the experience as easy and relaxed for patients as possible

About the project

Saint Anthony Hospital, a community hospital in Chicago, recently expanded their community outreach program as part of Chicago City Council’s efforts to vaccinate people from some of the city’s most deprived neighbourhoods where vaccination adoption had been low. In real terms, this meant doubling its daily vaccination capacity, and it was the use of an innovative planning tool, offered free of charge from simulation software experts, Simul8, that helped to accommodate the increase in volume possible.

With a target set to provide 500 additional vaccinations in one day to the people of the community Brighton Park, who are mostly Hispanic and from other ethnic minorities and may have been reluctant or unable to come forward, the hospital had one week to prepare.

Prior to this, Saint Anthony’s had been delivering between 300 and 500 vaccinations per day, so for the day of the pop-up clinic there would need to be significant changes to its resourcing and patient pathway planning, and then again four weeks later when patients were due their second dose.

Dr Eden Takhsh, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at Saint Anthony Hospital, explained further: “When we were first approached by the City Council to help with this important initiative, we immediately said yes. But then we realized that we may need help in effectively planning our resources to deliver an excellent experience for our community members.”

The Hospital decided to utilize technology for help, adopting advanced modeling software to generate a simulation of what the patient flow might look like at double capacity so that they could make the necessary adjustments. This was made possible following the generous offer of pro bono support from simulation experts Simul8. The company has been reaching out to healthcare organizations throughout the pandemic to offer free access to its software so that it can be used in anything from ICU bed planning to organizing COVID testing or the vaccination roll-out.

Dr. Takhsh continued: “With Simul8’s help, a digital model was created to visualize exactly what would be required to upscale the vaccine rollout on the planned community outreach day. The model enabled the hospital to test and optimize everything from the number of additional registrars that would be needed to how long each vaccination should take, how to reconfigure the physical space to handle the increased capacity and how to create a safe patient flow through the system.

It’s important to remember that receiving the vaccine is such a significant event for everyone coming through our doors, especially when we are trying to build confidence in those that are nervous or suspicious of it. It was imperative that we could provide the same high level of service for everyone to make the experience as easy and relaxed for our patients as possible.
I was also mindful of the extra pressure on our staff. The only way to succeed was to have a well-organized and efficient system set up, and the simulation was essential in making the important decisions needed to optimize this effort."
Dr Eden Takhsh
Vice President and Chief Quality Officer, Saint Anthony Hospital

The results

On the day, a total of 470 vaccinations were administered, as part of the successful outreach.

Frances Sneddon, Chief Technology Officer at Simul8, said: “We’re delighted to have played a role in this great initiative to get more people vaccinated. Hospitals and healthcare workers have been pushed to their limits throughout the pandemic, which is why we’ve been offering our specialist software to them for free.

“Testing everything in a virtual environment via a simulation model helps planners to quickly identify the most efficient way forward, taking this burden away from the hospital management team so that they can provide better service for their patients and ensure that their staff can all continue their amazing work.”

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