Nearly four months after the first patient was diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, providers can take several lessons from the incident to combat public hysteria over similar virus, according to a blog post on Hospitals & Health Networks.
Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with the deadly virus last October in Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian and died soon after. The hospital came under heavy criticism when two nurses who treated Duncan were later also diagnosed. In response to public pressure, President Barack Obama appointed Ron Klain his "Ebola czar," but stopped short of banning travel from West Africa where the outbreak was concentrated.
The initial hysteria over the Ebola outbreak offers several lessons for healthcare leaders, writes health policy expert Emily Friedman, including:
Push back against fear: It is vital for local healthcare leaders to communicate with the public about what information is true, Friedman writes.
Stand behind clinician volunteers: Friedman decries attacks on Ebola-zone volunteers, who were some of the first Americans to contract the disease, especially as many of these nations have severely limited healthcare infrastructure.
Support public health: A major part of the Ebola response was healthcare providers' collaboration with public health agencies, and providers should continue to support those agencies and their staff, according to Friedman.
Don't bite off more than you can chew: American hospitals are still in the process of preparing for any future cases of Ebola, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designating several dozen hospitals nationwide to accept any future patients with the virus. Healthcare providers should rely on the expertise of others who have treated Ebola patients, Friedman writes, rather than try to "reinvent the wheel."
To learn more:
- read the post