Post COVID-19 Patient Throughput Simulation for Surgical Resource Allocation
In response to COVID-19, many elective surgical procedures in Nova Scotia were cancelled resulting in an increased waitlist. A discrete event simulation approach may provide strategies for waitlist management. Descriptive analytics of two years (2018-2020) of surgery data informed the model development. The model facilitated scenario analysis of recovery strategies, increased bed capacity and operating room (OR) hours, as well as the COVID-19 effects on room turnaround and demand. The base model, which reflected the current system parameters, indicated the waitlist grew continuously with orthopedics, general surgery, and urology comprising 68% of the waitlist. The outpatient waitlist decreased to a steady state, whereas the inpatient waitlist continuously increased. The number of available OR hours and the types of patients on the surgical waitlist had the largest impact on the patient throughput. These aspects of resource allocation would positively impact the waitlist created by the COVID-19 pandemic.