Hospital surge capacity for an influenza pandemic in the triangle region of North Carolina

Spat Spatiotemporal Epidemiol. 2019 Aug:30:100285. doi: 10.1016/j.sste.2019.100285. Epub 2019 Jul 8.


This research investigates the geographic aspects of health care delivery in the event of a sudden increase in the need for care. We constructed an integrated disease outbreak and surge capacity model to evaluate the ability of a region's healthcare system to provide care in the event of a pandemic. In a case study, we implement the model to investigate how an influenza pandemic similar to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic would affect the population of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan statistical area and the ability of the region's hospital system to respond to such an event. Under varying scenarios for hospital capacity, we found that the population needing care would overwhelm the system's ability to provide care in the case study. Our model is presented as a framework that can be augmented and expanded to suit the needs of the particular event and healthcare system or services required. By integrating concepts and models from epidemiology, geography, and health care services research, we provide a valuable tool for potential use in disaster planning, hospital system evaluation, and pandemic preparedness.

Keywords: Hospital; Influenza; Pandemic; Spatial model; Surge capacity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Disaster Planning / methods
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Needs Assessment*
  • North Carolina
  • Pandemics*
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Surge Capacity / organization & administration*