With all these perturbations to the system and anxiety-laden clinical discussions, the question is, has any good occurred as a result of this viral penetration into the U.S.? I believe the answer is yes, as the rapid anticipation and planning for this level of care has spurned efforts that otherwise would have remained dormant, including:
- Unparalleled cooperation among U.S. hospitals for aiding and assisting each others’ readiness to screen accurately and safely provide first responder care;
- Remarkable cooperation and assistance from state and federal agencies in guidance, communication, and preparedness for the centers designated as regional referral centers;
- Enhanced planning and capabilities for U.S. hospitals to respond and adapt to changes in the external environment, which makes them that much more prepared to respond and adapt to the next contagious disease crisis, one that will undoubtedly occur; and
- A renewed sense of volunteerism among many clinicians, despite the possibility of personal threat.
Current estimates predict the Ebola outbreak will expand from hundreds to thousands of new cases (and deaths) per month.1 As this situation evolves, individual regionalized centers in the U.S. become more prepared (logistically and psychologically) to handle Ebola as each day passes.
The foundational structure of care designed during this outbreak can and should put the U.S. in a very good position to resiliently and effectively care for any highly contagious agent in the future. So in the face of this disruptive adversity, we should all be able to keep calm and Ebola on.
Dr. Scheurer is a hospitalist and chief quality officer at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She is physician editor of The Hospitalist. Email her at [email protected].