With over 28,000 confirmed cases and the coronavirus continuing its rapid spread, hospitals are scrambling to institute stricter screening and infection-control measures in hopes of stopping an epidemic.
The CDC’s recently released list of recommendations urges hospitals to ensure they are meeting the 2019-nCoV standards outlined for infection prevention and control. Among these are the consistent restocking and availability of personal protective equipment, proper and continuous cleaning and disinfecting of both rooms and medical equipment. When the possibility of an outbreak is on the horizon, hospitals must step up their efficiency without letting anything fall through the cracks.
Juggling ongoing operations is no small task, but the need for these stringent measures is evident – just look to the global 2003 SARS outbreak largely spread in hospitals, or to the smaller-scale, ultimately preventable 2013 Legionnaires’ outbreak at a UCSF children’s hospital. While the hospital had been following industry standards at the time, they realized they needed to quickly establish new protocols, such as adding the step of turning on the shower in patient rooms during turnover in order to prevent standing water in pipes where legionella can thrive.
Hindsight makes clear the importance of effective and efficient infection control. The problem arises when hospitals need to make these sweeping changes quickly. Communicating effectively with EVS workers and other staff implementing hospital readiness can be difficult when you’re racing against the clock. Having a system like ReadyList that allows for an ease of execution in a high stakes, high stress situation is vital. There’s no way to know when the next outbreak will happen, but with the right infrastructure in place we can give ourselves the best chance of preventing a pandemic.
Brian Herriot is a hospital operations leader and CEO of ReadyList, Inc. ReadyList software ensures fully operational inpatient and surgical environments to help clinicians dedicate more time to their patients.