Extending Hospital Preparedness


Inspired by this post: http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2011/07/things_we_may_not_think_about.php , which talks about some of the problems with hospital capacity handling a sudden influx of patients, like say, during an epidemic.

It’s a problem, and one I wish people would think about more. I wish the discussion would go a bit further than the hospitals however. There’s a saying about decisions being made by those who show up. An extension of this would be our limits are defined by who we remembered to invite. More after the jump…

I’ve been in my fair share of public health preparedness meetings by now, and something’s always struck me – the conversation is dominated by who got invited to the meeting. Emergency response folks? We’re going to talk about first responders, and disaster management. Clinicians? Clinical staff.

Rarely does anyone not at the meeting get talked about. My personal pet cause is suppliers – few ask, while we’re worried about nurses and doctors showing up to work, whether the truck driver with a hospital delivery route will. Or the cafeteria workers. Admittedly, some of this is far reaching, but having once, in a long past job helped push a snow-bound gate open so a medical oxygen delivery truck could get through, there are all kinds of essential supplies that go beyond folks at the hospital.

Just ask anyone who tried to order a case of N95 masks at the start of the influenza pandemic.

One Response to “Extending Hospital Preparedness”

  1. 1 Kacie

    You’re absolutely correct – this is the view of Systems Engineering (my field). One of the core principles is that *all* stakeholders must be invited to such meetings, in order to have every view/use of the system captured correctly.

    I know that doesn’t help you much – the people who decide to hold the meeting have to be aware of or willing to expand their view of who has an impact on, or is impacted by the system in question.

    In this case, hospitals, who will likely face a shortage of supplies.

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