York leads research paper on distributed simulation in ICUs

doctor nurse in scrubs in operating room

Research led by York University that uses simulation to examine the transmission of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) has been accepted for publication in the journal IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management (TEM).

The article was first published online on Aug. 18 in IEEE Xplore preparatory to its publication in print in IEEE TEM, a highly regarded journal publishing original research in engineering, technology, and innovation management.

York University professors Ali Asgary and Adriano O. Solis, of the School of Administrative Studies (SAS), and Jianhong Wu, of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, authored the study along with Jalal Possik, a recent postdoctoral research associate at SAS, and a team of co-researchers based in Canada and France. The paper “An Agent-Based Modeling and Virtual Reality Application Using Distributed Simulation: Case of a COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit” features research involving the development of a distributed simulation (DS) system integrating two different simulations –developed within the COVID-19 context for the intensive care unit (ICU) at Toronto General Hospital (TGH).

One simulation involved agent-based and discrete event modelling methods running on the AnyLogic simulation platform, and the other involved virtual reality (VR) simulation running on the Unity platform.

“The cloud-based DS system allows interoperability of heterogeneous modelling and simulation applications involving predictive analytics and visual models that could help find solutions to improve effectiveness, quality of services, and safety in health-care environments that are made more complex in the face of COVID-19 and other similar highly communicable diseases,” said Solis.

Interoperability between the heterogeneous applications is enabled using the high-level architecture (HLA), an IEEE DS standard. The DS system as developed enables end users to examine effectiveness of new training and management approaches and methodologies to improve ICU ward operations, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Possik is now assistant professor (Enseignant Chercheur en Informatique) at Université Catholique de Lille (France). In addition to Possik, Asgary, Solis, and Wu, other members of the international, multi-disciplinary research team are: Gregory Zacharewicz, professor at Institut Mines-Telecom (IMT) – École des Mines d’Alès (France); Mohammad Ali Shafiee, physician and associate professor at the University Health Network; postdoctoral research associates Mahdi Najafabadi and Mohammadali Tofighi and research associates Nazanin Nadri and Abel Guimaraes of Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation (ADERSIM) at York; respiratory therapist Philip Ma at TGH; physician Christie Lee at Sinai Health System; physician Mehdi Aarabi at TGH; and Simon Gorecki, assistant professor at Université de Bordeaux.

The research was supported in part by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Mathematics of COVID-19: Infection Risk Assessment and Intervention Evaluation, through the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences) and the University Health Network.