We’re prepared for the surge

All our preparation will pay off

THE START OF THIS WEEK feels different.  It could be the beginning of the “surge” – we are seeing more seriously ill patients and we are opening new spaces to take care of them.  But, unlike some other cities, we have had some warning and we have used it wisely.  Our medical community has spent the past three weeks intensely gathering resources, solving problems, planning, innovating, and planning some more. Our physician leaders have been incredible, learning from their colleagues across the country and the globe, anticipating things that will get thrown our way and how best to respond to them.

We also have some unique advantages here in Boston: we have more than our share of brilliant physicians, residents, and medical students; an incredibly talented nursing workforce; and seasoned leaders who have managed unpredictable crises in the past.  Some of our physicians, who usually spend most of their time doing other things like research, are available to back up the work force as we need them.  They are eager to help, retraining in areas of medicine they haven’t needed to use in a long time.  And of course there are the technicians, respiratory therapists, medical assistants – the backbone of our service delivery, along with housekeeping, dining services, and security – here to keep everything functioning.

We also have world class hospitals with more hospital beds and resources for a city of our size than many other places. Not to mention a culture of innovation that is helping us quickly solve problems like sterilizing masks and printing testing swabs.

Meet the Author

Alexa Kimball

President /CEO/ Professor of dermatology, Physician Performance LLC / Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians / Harvard Medical School
And lastly, we have the people of Massachusetts, who have taken the message to do their part stopping the spread of this contagion seriously from the beginning. That kind of back up will ultimately make all the difference.

So, I really hope the increases aren’t a trend, and just variation.  But if they are not, we are prepared, and that preparation will pay off.

Alexa B. Kimball is the president of Physician Performance LLC, the CEO of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Follow her at @AlexaBKimball, @PhysicianPLLC, @HMFPBoston.