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Planning for the next influenza pandemic: Using the science and art of logistics

O. Shawn Cupp, PhD, Brad G. Predmore, MHA


The complexities and challenges for healthcare providers and their efforts to provide fundamental basic items to meet the logistical demands of an influenza pandemic are discussed in this article. The supply chain, planning, and alternatives for inevitable shortages are some of the considerations associated with this emergency mass critical care situation. The planning process and support for such events are discussed in detail with several recommendations obtained from the literature and the experience from recent mass casualty incidents (MCIs). The first step in this planning process is the development of specific triage requirements during an influenza pandemic. The second step is identification of logistical resources required during such a pandemic, which are then analyzed within the proposed logistics science and art model for planning purposes. Resources highlighted within the model include allocation and use of work force, bed space, intensive care unit assets, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and oxygen. The third step is using the model to discuss in detail possible workarounds, suitable substitutes, and resource allocation. An examination is also made of the ethics surrounding palliative care within the construction of an MCI and the factors that will inevitably determine rationing and prioritizing of these critical assets to palliative care patients.


pandemic, influenza, logistics, bed space, oxygen

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