Due in part to the significant impact of hurricane season on the Gulf Coast of the U.S., Louisiana is considered a “wet lab” for emergency preparedness. As part of its annual preparations, the State creates and maintains plans that involve the full coastal evacuation of entire hospitals and nursing homes in Southeastern Louisiana, mostly via aircraft. Palisade’s @RISK software plays a critical part in both estimating needs, and justifying resources.
“Palisade built a sophisticated model for us that allows us to take the configuration data and construct a model, quickly and easily,” said Henry Yennie of the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). “@RISK is a really valuable tool that lets us perform up to 10 different scenarios based on patient numbers and other data, plus it has an interface that makes it ‘idiot proof’ for us.” For each scenario, modelers can change evacuation parameters such as airport and plane availability, or patient bed availability.
LDH worked with Palisade’s Custom Development team to create the model. A custom interface allows for easy configuration of model parameters, reducing errors. The LDH can plan ahead of time, and change parameters on the fly during a hurricane to plan during an actual hurricane. According to Yennie, “@RISK gives us benchmarks we can measure against actual patient movements, then lets us know the probabilities of success. By providing us with this estimate of success throughout the process, we’re able to figure out what we can do to fix it right away.”
“I’ve used other simulation software over the years and none has come close to the usability of @RISK,” reports Yennie. “It makes it really easy for a person who doesn’t have a PhD in statistics to build an accurate model of a real-world situation that has an impact.”