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U.S. physicians aren’t confident about the country’s preparedness to cope with the novel coronavirus as they are put their own protocols in place for potentially infected patients.

The survey of 150 doctors found only 9% feel confident they could identify a patient who has contracted what is now known as COVID-19, the novel respiratory illness with flu-like systems that originated in Wuhan, China, according to a new survey from InCrowd.

Just one in four physicians feels very prepared to treat a patient that has potentially contracted COVID-19.

Case Study

Across-the-Board Impact of an OB-GYN Hospitalist Program

A Denver facility saw across-the-board improvements in patient satisfaction, maternal quality metrics, decreased subsidy and increased service volume, thanks to the rollout of the first OB-GYN hospitalist program in the state.

See how

Of the government response to COVID-19, only one in three respondents agrees that the U.S. is taking strong precautions to prevent the spread of the illness. Nearly half (45%) agree that the World Health Organization and governments outside of the U.S. are taking strong precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

So far, 14 people in the U.S. have been confirmed to have the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The latest patient is among a group of people quarantined in California after returning on a State Department-chartered flight from China.

Coronavirus has been blamed for 1,367 deaths worldwide, all but two recorded in mainland China, which has been the center of the outbreak, according to USA Today. The total number of confirmed cases has spiked to over 60,000.

InCrowd surveyed emergency medicine or critical care specialists, pediatricians and primary care physicians about COVID-19 between January 31 and February 4 and found most report a lack of confidence in their preparedness to treat COVID-19. Of those surveyed, 65% said they don’t have access to a COVID-19 test kit made available by the CDC for laboratory testing. Seventy-two percent of respondents say if a patient traveled to a country where COVID-19 is prevalent, they would automatically want to test for the virus if the test were available.

Yet the majority of physicians confirm that their practices are recommending protocols to follow for potentially affected patients. While 75% of respondents said that their clinic or hospital has recommended a protocol for patients that could potentially have COVID-19, only 38% think the hospitals or facilities where they have privileges are prepared to treat people with the disease.

While only 9% of respondents rated themselves as being very concerned about COVID-19, 28% said their patients are very concerned. “I’m not particularly concerned about it, however, we are forced by media hype to feed into the fear,” a 42-year-old male emergency medicine and critical care specialist said in the survey.

But doctors said patients should be more concerned about the flu. “I try to emphasize to my patients that they should be more worried about the influenza virus,” said a 36-year-old female emergency medicine and critical care specialist.

In fact, 21% of respondents said their patients are more concerned about the threat of the flu, which the CDC estimates has killed 12,000 patients in the U.S. this season and resulted in 210,000 hospitalizations.

Within the past year, millions of families and businesses from coast-to-coast have been left in the dark during California’s multiple planned power outage events and the Northeast’s record-breaking bomb cyclone and recent winter storms.

As we increasingly experience extreme storms and frequent power outages, our health care system, specifically hospitals, act as our front lines for saving lives and treating those in need.

Trusted to treat and protect, hospitals play an important 24/7 role in our communities. With year-round business structures, high foot traffic, and complex operations, electricity is the lifeblood for hospitals. From electronic health records to electrocardiography and automated pill dispenser machines, these digital tools are relied upon to maintain secure environments and provide consistent care for patients.

Case Study

Across-the-Board Impact of an OB-GYN Hospitalist Program

A Denver facility saw across-the-board improvements in patient satisfaction, maternal quality metrics, decreased subsidy and increased service volume, thanks to the rollout of the first OB-GYN hospitalist program in the state.

See how

At the same time, the electric grid becomes increasingly vulnerable to failures and hospitals, who simply can’t afford to lose power, remain responsible by local, state, and federal law to produce reliable power during extended outages.

I know what you must be thinking – I have back up for that.

As the grid ages and emergency power requirements remain critical to operations, hospitals must innovate and adopt reliable and resilient power systems – not depend on diesel generator backups, which lack brawn when it comes to human error in maintenance.

With high stake essential electrical system (EES) loads that hospitals carry every day, including the NFPA 99 code risk ‘Category 1’, meaning failure of equipment would cause major injury or death, grid power and industry-standard diesel backup systems are no longer sufficient.

This is especially true in the wake of natural disaster-induced power outages, when communities rely on hospitals as safe havens and backup energy production relies on ill-maintained diesel generators.

What our health care system needs is a Microgrid solution. This requires a change in behavior; a switch from complete reliance on the grid to an ecosystem of grid power, on-site microgrids, and backup generators.

Microgrids act as local, miniature version of the electric grid. They can dispatch, distribute, and regulate the flow of electricity at healthcare facilities in normal source capacity. Since they can work while connected to the electric grid, or in parallel to it, microgrids can carry commercial-sized EES loads seamlessly through grid failure or blackouts.

Instead of worrying solely on whether unreliable diesel backup generators will catch critical EES loads during such events, a microgrid remains primary power as usual. This way, diesel generators can remain in standby and be the ‘last line of defense’ for EES loads.

Microgrids also have the upper hand when it comes to sustainability and efficiency. Since they can be an energy mix of fuel cells, solar and storage, and small wind turbines, microgrids are cleaner and provide more stable energy.

As hospitals require round the clock power, microgrids can continuously cover the entire baseload required with high capacity factor energy sources like fuel cells, diesel generators, or CHP.

Now is the time for health care systems to think differently about the resilience and reliability of its current power systems.

By pairing the main electric grid with on-site microgrids, hospitals can keep primary power on during blackouts – first and foremost, saving lives, but also continuing all needed services and operations to ensure that patients receive a high standard of care no matter the situation.

Niru Kumar is the product leader of healthcare microgrids at Bloom Energy.