Two universities who usually compete for the brightest young minds and business acumen in the state of Indiana are collaborating in the fight against COVID-19.

Faculty from the business schools at Indiana and Purdue universities are jointly working on a project with IU Health to help manage demand surge stemming from the pandemic.

The team of professors from IU’s Kelley School of Business and Purdue’s Krannert School of Management has been working together for a month to develop a predictive model to illustrate resources that are needed for an adequate response to the pandemic.

“A lot of models out there that predict the number of ICUs and ventilators you’re going to need really are back-of-the-envelope calculations,” said Jonathan Helm, associate professor of operations and decision technologies at Kelley.

Helm said many current models for COVID-19 lack the details needed for hospitals to do operational planning.  Helm and his associates are addressing that shortfall.

The team explained patient resource requirements in Indianapolis look different from patients in other communities, such as Lafayette and Bloomington.

“These regions have different types of hospitals and different demographics of people they serve, and different population densities, all of which contribute to COVID-19 care resource requirements,” said Helm.

The Kelley-Krannert model integrates disease prediction with a sophisticated patient flow workload model.

“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,” Helm said.

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