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Friday, March 1
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research coronavirus

IU and Purdue business schools partner to help IU Health plan COVID-19 response


Faculty from IU and Purdue University’s business schools partnered with IU Health to develop models to predict how the surge of COVID-19 patients will affect the IU Health’s 16 hospitals across the Midwest, according to an IU press release.

“We are creating a learning model of how the patients in each region of Indiana are being affected and how they differ from those in the national model,” team co-leader and Kelley School of Business associate professor Jonathan Helm said in the release.

The teams have been working since the end of March to develop models of the health care industry to evaluate different scenarios as operations change, according to the release. Faculty in the Kelley School of Business' Department of Operations and Decision Technologies designed a disease progression model, which predicts when there will be surges of COVID-19 patients. The model is based on four phases of the disease: susceptibility, exposure, infection and recovery.

Purdue faculty designed a patient flow model, which shows how COVID-19 patients move around hospitals and what resources they use, such as beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment, team leader and Purdue Krannert School of Management assistant professor Pengyi Shi said in the release.

“This effort shows the incredible talent and hard working nature of our faculty, and it also shows how Hoosiers come together from across the state for the benefit of the Indiana community,” Kelley School of Business Dean Idalene Kesner said in the release. 

The combination of these two models allows IU Health to adjust operations in its COVID-19 surge plan, according to the release. These measures include canceling elective surgeries, transforming surgery rooms into intensive care units, shipping ventilators between regions and setting up temporary hospitals.

“The rapid adjustments that have been made throughout the IU Health system in order to accommodate patient surge have been nothing short of astonishing,” Krannert School Dean David Hummels said in the release. “This is one of the times where they have to try many new things, very quickly, and put an enormous amount of trust in expertise that new systems are going to work.”

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