Capacity Planning for Elective Surgical Services post COVID-19
In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, elective surgical services throughout The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) were cancelled mid-March 2020 resulting in increased patient waitlist volumes [1, 2]. Emergency procedures are proceeding, as is some urgent surgery based on priority banding (e.g. only cases where negative outcome expected with > 4 week wait). As a result, surgery for the majority of patients requiring surgical care in Nova Scotia is “on pause”. Combined with the already well documented long wait times for some of these elective procedures in our province [3,4], an effective strategy to address this gap is required, regardless of the current and future uncertainty in COVID related implications for our health care system.
As surgical services reopen there will be competing demands for access to health system resources such as operating room time and inpatient beds. While several guidelines exist outlining requirements and considerations for such reopening, knowledge of the jurisdiction-specific environment is critical. What is the gap to be overcome? What are the tools and approaches that could be taken to address the gap? What is the best way to incorporate clinical appropriateness and prioritization in the approach?
The aim of this project is to address the COVID-related backlog of elective surgery by providing capacity planning forecasts and models to explore potential reopening strategies.