Since the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading through the US, the Medinas team has been glued to our computers. If you’re anything like us, at this point you’ve read dozens of articles and earned your “amateur virologist” merit badge. You use terms like “social distancing,” “asymptomatic carrier,” and “transmission rate” on a daily basis.
One term we’ve all learned over the past few weeks is “flatten the curve.” It’s usually accompanied by a graph like this: (1)
Flattening the Curve
The basic idea of “flatten the curve” is to slow down the spread of infection so that it doesn’t exceed existing healthcare system capacity, represented by the dotted line that cuts across the middle of the graphic.
If we keep active cases below the capacity of our healthcare system, more people will survive. Exceed the system’s capacity and fatality rates increase.(2)
We’re all doing our part to flatten the curve by social distancing, washing our hands, and self-quarantining at home so that the virus spreads as slowly as possible.
But that’s not the only way to increase survival rates. At Medinas, we’re tackling the other part of the graphic: raising the dotted line. If we manage to increase healthcare system capacity, we make more space for the curve. Which will save lives.
Raising the Line
To grossly oversimplify an extremely complicated subject, healthcare system capacity to treat COVID-19 boils down to a handful of things:
- Availability of skilled healthcare professionals to care for patients hospitalized as a result of COVID-19,
- Hospital beds for everyone who should be hospitalized,
- Ventilators and oxygen for those who can no longer breathe on their own,
- Protective equipment such as masks to keep healthcare professionals safe, and
- Patient monitors and other equipment needed to provide standard of care, slow transmission within hospitals, and ensure that patients receive the best treatment possible.
Increasing Access to Lifesaving Medical Equipment
We’re not a team of physicians, which means we can’t offset the medical manpower shortages we’re facing in this pandemic. But what we can do is increase access to the core tools medical professionals need to fight this fight.
That’s how we’re raising the line.
Medinas is harnessing our network of suppliers in the primary and secondary market to procure desperately needed ventilators, masks, beds, and patient monitors and either make them available as rentals (many hospitals can’t afford to buy new equipment right now) or make them available at cost to capital-constrained hospitals.
Equipment and supply availability is one of the biggest bottlenecks in the fight against COVID-19. Our hope is that by attacking this bottleneck, we can contribute to boosting the nation’s overall healthcare capacity in this time of crisis, and thereby improve survival rates.
To succeed, we need help
Raising the line is a monumental task. The amount of equipment that US hospitals need to combat this crisis is on a scale that hasn’t been seen in the modern era. If you’d like to help us raise the line, we’re looking for a few things:
- New connections to add to our network of international suppliers of new and refurbished equipment (ventilators, beds, and monitors) and key supplies (masks, gloves, etc.),
- Additional capital to boost our procurement capacity to import as much equipment as we can find, and
- More international shipping partners to help expedite transit of equipment from point A to point B.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think there is a way you can help.
Written by: Daniel Brian, Dir. Operations Medinas Health
1. Graphic Credit: Drew A Harris