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Showing posts from July, 2012

Time Shifting Emergency Department Demand

Om Malek, posting on GigaOM, has an interesting article on a startup which time shifts power consumption of appliances attached to its smart grid system from peak hours to off-peak hours. Unused energy is sold back to a local grid operator, creating revenue, which is shared with the customer. Managing Emergency Department volume is surprisingly similar to managing electricity demand. There are massive fluctuations in demand at different hours of the day. Both require massive amounts of infrastructure in order to manage peak demand. Both systems have a potential for life threatening consequences if peak demand is not met. Peak demand is affected by weather and day of the week (well documented in ED literature). In addition to the obvious similarities listed above, what is most important is that total demand is determined by the sum of independent events, which are often convenience choices by consumers: "turn on dishwasher now or in an hour", "go to the ER now for my