The United States has the third- highest number of confirmed cases behind China and Italy. The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in the U.S. rose to 1,031 with 68,572 confirmed cases is expected to reach far beyond the nation’s hospital capacity. Thus, it is a necessity now for healthcare workers to adopt new strategies to maximise efficiency while ensuring that patients receive appropriate care. Jacqueline Griffin is an assistant professor of engineering at Northeastern University, who specialises in Healthcare Optimisation. In a study co-authored by him, it was noted that even marginal increases in the time spent treating individual patients mean dramatic increases in wait times at healthcare facilities in the U.S.
According to Griffin, the average American who has gone to an emergency department has already seen long wait times and a lack of beds for standard flu seasons. An increase in wait times threatens healthcare facilities since COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close proximity. Thus, in order to decrease time off visits and shorten waiting room times, it is important for the hospitals to have a management that is faultless. Many hospitals have moved to bed management boards where they can visualise which beds are open, which beds need to be cleaned, and which patients are checking out soon. Also, some healthcare workers are opting for virtual care in order to avoid overcrowding. Furthermore, a lot of hospitals are canceling elective procedures to free space and time. This could also help them maintain vital supplies during the outbreak. However, these measures alone won’t be enough to keep things running smoothly.
Griffin says that nurses must work closely with their pharmacists while arriving at decisions about which patients will receive the limited drugs that are currently available. This is important now because major drug-manufacturing countries like India are restricting exports of certain pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, medications that are useless at treating viral diseases like COVID-19 but essential for treating any secondary bacterial infections.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman