The impulse to implement a travel ban to African countries is understandable. Essentially, it is taking the concept of quarantine to what seems like to be its logical conclusion.
In 2003, the SARS outbreak provided a deadly precedent to the Ebola threat that we now face, and the handling of the SARS outbreak provides an excellent example of how to combat a deadly and more contagious disease than Ebola.
Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan visited the emergency department of a Dallas Hospital with a temperature of 100.1 degrees Fahrenheit, abdominal pain, decreased urination, and a sharp headache. He was sent home with antibiotics because it was not disclosed to the doctors on staff that Duncan had recently traveled from Liberia, where the disease has spread rapidly and caused more than 3,000 deaths. Officials from the hospital released a statement saying, “the travel history would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard work flow” as part of their EHR design. Instead, Mr. Duncan’s travel history was included only in the EHR’s nursing workflow.
We’ve written a lot about health care spending in the US, and about the ways we could lower costs and improve outcomes.
This nicely-designed widget from the Institute of Medicine creates visualizations that further clarify the exorbitant costs of healthcare in the US, and also provides information on lowering costs and improving outcomes. Take a look:
We’ve been hearing a lot recently about Americans panicking over Ebola concerns. Ebola is highly infectious, and the outbreak in Africa has been met with sensational media reports about both the African outbreak and the (unlikely) possibility of a similar outbreak in North America. Following news of the confirmed case of the affected man in Houston, you might have expected emergency departments to be overwhelmed with hypochondriacs obsessed with the disease.