Infectious Disease and Design
Updated: Jun 4
Ebola. This modern-day plague is now a significant health concern to all. And until the outbreak is contained, this global threat remains very real as infections are being diagnosed in Texas and Spain. Since a vaccine does not yet exist, the likelihood of an infection occurring anywhere at any time is something we must be prepared to confront with all the medical knowhow our hospitals can provide.
An article in Healthcare Design made me realize that combatting HAIs has now been taken to a new level (http://bit.ly/1sMxfqb) as Ebola is clearly the ‘mother of all HAIs.’ To succeed, today’s healthcare facilities must be prepared to diagnose and treat these highly infectious and deadly diseases without bringing harm to the providers who nurse them back to health. Facilities must consider all options to combat this horrid disease and, in the process, all hospital associated infections.
Working closely with Emory University Hospital, we’ve been privy to many of these discussions. We’re also watching the rapid response efforts being developed by the CDC. At some point, we believe a national blanket will be developed to effectively combat Ebola and other infectious viruses. Remember Enterovirus D68 that struck hundreds of children in the Midwest? That outbreak seems quite mild in comparison, yet lives were lost.
It’s a crazy time these days. Our healthcare system is overwhelmed with seismic structural changes (Affordable Care Act), emergent care for the uninsured, a Boomer population now entering old-age, and now the deadliest disease to infect the World since AIDS. The effect all of this has on our healthcare system, and the structures that support it, is complex to say the least. Effective planning, visioning, retrofitting, and expansion are needed across all facets to ensure our healthcare system can withstand these pressures.