Presenter: Tayfun Sonmez, PhD, Professor of Economics, Boston College Discussant: Allen Kachalia, MD, JD, Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality, Director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality Moderator: Daniel Polsky, PhD, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Economics
The paper Leaving No Ethical Value Behind: Triage Protocol Design for Pandemic Rationing (Authors: Parag A. Pathak, Tayfun Sonmez, M Utku Unver, and M Bumin Yenmez) was presented and a discussion of real-world implications followed. The paper presents an alternative to most existing triage protocols which are based on a priority point system, in which a formula specifies the order in which the supply of a resource, such as a ventilator, is to be rationed for patients. This alternative is a reserve system, where resources are placed into multiple categories. Priorities guiding allocation of units can reflect different ethical values between these categories. A reserve system provides additional flexibility over a priority point system because it does not dictate a single priority order for the allocation of all units. It offers a middle-ground approach that balances competing objectives, such as in the medical worker debate. Link to full paper. There were over 150 live attendees.