Optimization-based Logistics Planning and Performance Measurement for Hospital Evacuation and Emergency Management

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation addresses the development of optimization models for hospital evacuation logistics, as well as the analyses of various resource management strategies in terms of the equity of evacuation plans generated. We first formulate the evacuation transportation problem of a hospital as an integer programming model that minimizes the total evacuation risk consisting of the threat risk necessitating evacuation and the transportation risk experienced en route. Patients, categorized based on medical conditions and care requirements, are allocated to a limited fleet of vehicles with various medical capabilities and capacities to be transported to receiving beds, categorized much like patients, at the alternative facilities. We demonstrate structural properties of the underlying transportation network that enables the model to be used for both strategic planning and operational decision making.

Next, we examine the resource management and equity issues that arise when multiple hospitals in a region are evacuated. The efficiency and equity of the allocation of resources, including a fleet of vehicles, receiving beds, and each hospital's loading capacity, determine the performance of the optimal evacuation plan. We develop an equity modeling framework, where we consider equity among evacuating hospitals and among patients. The range of equity of optimal solutions is investigated and properties of optimal and equitable solutions based on risk-based utility functions are analyzed.

Finally, we study the integration of the transportation problem with the preceding hospital building evacuation. Since, in practice, the transportation plan depends on the pace of building evacuation, we develop a model that would generate the transportation plan subject to the output of hospital building evacuation. The optimal evacuation plans are analyzed with respect to resource utilization and patient prioritization schemes. Parametric analysis of the resource constraints is provided along with managerial insights into the assessment of evacuation requirements and resource allocation.

In order to demonstrate the performance of the proposed models, computational results are provided using case studies with real data obtained from the second largest hospital in Virginia.

Hospital Evacuation, Emergency Response, Transportation Planning, Resource Management, Equity Modeling, Integer Programming