HAP Blog

Does Predictive Modeling Have a Place in Emergency Management?

September 15, 2023

One important step in the emergency preparedness cycle is preparedness. One of the main elements of that step is assessing potential hazards, impacts, and preparedness. This process is better known as a hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA). 

Conducting an HVA is such a critical step that it is a CMS requirement for both hospitals and long-term care facilities. County emergency management offices use a similar tool to assess the risks, preparedness, and impacts to the county as a whole.

More and more, we are hearing about the use of artificial intelligence in health care. We are even starting to see researchers using this technology to make predictive models. In a recent article from CIDRAP, a group of researchers used an AI model to determine if COVID-19 patients would require ICU placement. The aim was to use this model to aid hospitals in resource allocation during patient surges.

Predictive modeling has been used by emergency managers for some time. Weather-related models have been the hallmark for determining our risk days ahead. We see the clear benefits as we watch tropical storms moving across the ocean and anxiously await if they will affect the coast. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw many different models—some very good and some that turned out to be less reliable. 

We all fall somewhere along a spectrum when it comes to acceptance of technology in our jobs. Some of us are early adopters—and some are eventually forced to adapt. Whatever your comfort level, the use of artificial intelligence and predictive modeling seems likely to be part of the future of emergency management. It’s already being researched and used in some cases.

Do I think that these advancements will someday replace our use of an HVA to guide our program and help us identify risks? I’m not sure that I would take it that far. But do I have an inkling that a blending of this technology and our experience and expertise would have a potential place in aiding our preparedness in the future. I guess only time will tell.

For more information, contact Ryan Weaver, MBA, BSN, RN, CPPS, manager, emergency management.

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