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New Tool Introduced to Help with Pandemic Planning

Spreadsheet-Based System Can Aid Hospitals in Response

APRIL 14, 2008 – Baltimore, MD – The modeling tools that are currently available to project the effects of an influenza pandemic on hospitals are of limited utility. They fail to capture the dynamic nature of the medical response to a flu event, and they lack the flexibility needed to adjust assumptions. Now a group of researchers has developed a new tool that they believe can provide real help to hospital administrators, pandemic planners, and medical response managers.

The authors, Mark Abramovich of Interdisciplinary Solutions LLC and Eric Toner and Jason Matheny of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, collaborated to develop a model called Panalysis that will project the effects of an influenza pandemic  on hospitals and regions.

Panalysis is innovative because it applies financial and operations modeling techniques to the field of hospital pandemic planning. Through this interdisciplinary approach, Panalysis can be used to calculate fatalities that could be prevented if not for shortages of beds and ventilators. It also takes personnel shortages into account. Thus, pandemic mitigation and response strategies can be tested. The model is scalable and can be used for hospitals as well as regions.

The model is described in an article in the March 2008 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science.

The authors show how the effective use of response strategies—such as canceling elective surgeries and reallocating beds and ventilators—could reduce fatalities by over 40% during a severe pandemic.

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed approximately 660,000 Americans and between 50 and 100 million people worldwide. The authors use a 1918-like scenario to demonstrate how Panalysis could work.

Mr. Abramovich states: “The field of pandemic planning is extremely broad and touches on fields as diverse as epidemiology and economics. Only through collaboration will we as a society be able to manage severe pandemics. Panalysis is a connection point for fields that otherwise might not ordinarily associate.”

Dr. Toner, a Senior Associate with the Center for Biosecurity, states: “Panalysis improves on other available pandemic planning tools by taking into account the dynamic relationship between patient surge, limited resources, and mitigation strategies.”

The Panalysis model can be downloaded at The article describing the model, “Panalysis: A New Spreadsheet-Based Tool for Pandemic Planning,” appears in the March 2008 issue of  Biosecurity and Bioterrorism and is available at or at

Please direct inquiries to Mark Abramovich at 212-677-5982 or by e-mail at, or to Molly D’Esopo, 443-573-3304 or, at the Center for Biosecurity.



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