J-IDEA, the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, in the UK has introduced a pandemic hospital planning tool to address rise in demand from the coronavirus outbreak.

J-IDEA is the disease outbreak centre at Imperial College London. The researchers designed the planning tool to allow calculation of the capacity of beds, staff and ventilator equipment.

The pandemic hospital planning tool makes the calculation while considering various healthcare provision interventions, including cancellation of elective surgeries and conversion of operating theatres to critical care wards.

Interventions are based on a rapid review of policy decisions deployed or being considered across 12 European countries over the last few months, said Imperial.

Jameel Institute deputy director Dr Katharina Hauck said: “Some countries are facing a surge in patients requiring urgent life-saving care.

“The J-IDEA pandemic hospital planner gives practical support to decision makers in preparing hospitals for this difficult task, so they can hopefully save as many lives as possible with the given resources.”

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The planning tool is available publicly for health services globally. It is said to be interactive and adaptable to varying situations and emerging evidence.

According to the researchers, the tool can be used to evaluate baseline capacity and then calculate the capacity gain by different healthcare interventions with impact estimates.

In a report, Imperial said: “The planner was developed rapidly and has limitations which we will address in future iterations.

“It supports decision-makers in delivering a fast, effective and coordinated response to the pandemic that upholds the aims that societies have set for their healthcare systems and the medical treatment of their citizens.”

J-IDEA is making the tool available in alliance with The WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling within the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis (GIDA).