The URGE Project

A new approach to alleviating emergency room congestion using a flow simulator.

Led by Dr. Youri Yordanov and researcher Xavier Allamigeon, this ambitious collaborative project has won the Bernoulli Lab Challenge.

Youri Yordanov is an emergency physician at the Saint-Antoine Hospital (AP-HP/IMPEC/Sorbonne University Hospital Federation) and a professor at the Sorbonne University Faculty of Medicine. Xavier Allamigeon is a researcher at the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (Inria) and the Ecole Polytechnique.

Together, they are coordinating the URGE project, which is designed to analyze emergency room patient flows and optimize their management. "This project brings together the expertise of mathematicians, visualization and probability research teams from Inria and Ecole Polytechnique, and clinicians and researchers from AP-HP and Sorbonne University," explains Youri Yordanov.

The number of patients going to the emergency room has doubled from 10 to 21 million over the last ten years. France has one of the highest rates of use in Europe! "However, while the number of patients has doubled, the number of nurses or doctors has not increased... nor has our space," says Youri Yordanov. This overcrowding, and the inability to provide quality care within a reasonable timeframe, causes inconvenience on several levels, as the clinician points out: "This has consequences for the patients, of course, with longer treatment times and potentially deaths, but also for the structures and for the professionals, who feel frustration, dissatisfaction and exhaustion. We sometimes find ourselves having to turn people away."

Winner of the Bernoulli Lab Challenge

To alleviate this saturation, the URGE project will create an emergency structure simulator to support hospital teams in managing patient care. "We want to use mathematical and digital simulation tools to model the flow of our patients in the emergency room, and to be able to evaluate different organizations, adaptations or solutions in an environment that will not put them at risk. So before we test these tools on patients, we will test them digitally."

The first phase of the operation has already begun: a few mathematicians have gone to mix with the medical teams of the Saint-Antoine hospital’s emergency room to understand and discover the reality of the service. "It’s a real challenge. We’re going to find ourselves with digital science teams in our departments. Teams that don’t speak the same language will have to learn to understand each other and work together on this project. It promises to be an interesting exchange!"

This summer, the URGE project was the winner of the Bernoulli Lab Challenge. Launched in April 2022, this program-created by the joint laboratory of Inria and AP-HP, Daniel Bernoulli-aims to support a large-scale collaborative research project in digital health. Youri Yordanov explains that,"In addition to the obvious recognition, this prize will enable us to obtain funding over four years to host and support young researchers and PhD students in mathematics and medicine."

Officially launched on October 10, the URGE project is based on a collaboration between the Ile-de-France emergency services of the IMPEC (IMProving Emergency Care) university hospital federation supported by Sorbonne University, the clinical research platform of Eastern Paris, the regional observatory of unscheduled care and several Inria teams.

About the Bernoulli Lab

The Daniel Bernoulli Laboratory (known as Bernoulli Lab) is the result of a partnership between the AP-HP and Inria. Its mission is to accelerate research and innovation in digital health by bringing together researchers in digital sciences and healthcare professionals. This mission has three main objectives:

  • Accelerate health research based on the use of health data
  • To promote the development of new tools, such as algorithms, open-source libraries, and software, likely to facilitate daily clinical practice or medical research
  • Stimulate the transfer of digital health innovations to the economic world
  • Today, the laboratory brings together a community of around 100 members, involved in 20 active projects and 8 partner research organizations.

Did you know?

Daniel Bernoulli, an 18th century Swiss physician, physicist and mathematician, is known for his fundamental theorem of fluid mechanics. He was also a pioneer in the use of mathematics in medicine.