Lines at Airports are Breeding Grounds for Infections

Lines at Airports are Breeding Grounds for Infections

The sudden return of US citizens and permanent residents created havoc at the major airports.

The coronavirus outbreak prompted the US government to urge its citizens sojourning in Europe to come back before travel restrictions came into effect. The ultimatum caused unusually large numbers of travelers to crowd airports that were unprepared and thus understaffed for this surge. As a result, travelers had to wait in long lines before medical screening and immigration, thereby breaking all rules of safe distancing during a pandemic.


Video Spotlight: Exasperatingly long wait lines at DFW


This post is based on the npr.org article, Travelers Greeted with Hours-Long Airport Lines as Coronavirus Screenings Begin, by B. Allyn, March 15, 2020, and the YouTube video, Travelers Frustrated after New Coronavirus Screening Procedure Causes Hours-Long Wait at DFW Airport, by WFAA, March 14, 2020. Image source: Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors that contributed to long lines?

Guidance: Wait lines are caused by insufficient capacity to meet demand as well as variability in arrivals and service. In this instance, the sudden surge in arrivals was unexpected and so was the additional time for medical screening. Longer and more Continue reading

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Productivity vs. Patient Safety at Walgreens and CVS

Productivity vs. Patient Safety at Walgreens and CVS

Tired employees at Walgreens and CVS are making mistakes that may threaten patient safety.

For some time, pharmacists have argued that understaffed and high-pace work environments are contributing to medication errors and compromising public safety. Management has challenged these allegations but is planning to review the standards used to evaluate pharmacists’ performance.


Video Spotlight: Medication Errors at 24-Hour Pharmacies


This post is based on The New York Times article, At Walgreens, Complaints of Medication Errors Go Missing, by E. Gabler, February 21, 2020, and the YouTube video, Prescription Drug Dispensing Errors Kill 100,000 People Per Year in USby CBSDFW, May 14, 2018. Image source: fstop123/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do Walgreens and CVS try to ensure high levels of productivity from their pharmacists?

Guidance: The productivity index is measured by the ratio of output to input. In this article, the efforts mentioned to boost productivity involve a reduction of inputs through increased quantitative workload and multi-tasking. The high pace of work, lower staffing levels (e.g. elimination of overlapping pharmacists, reduced work hours for technicians), and longer hours contribute to quantitative overload. Answering the phone, filling drive-through and in-store orders, and giving flu shots Continue reading

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Virtual Emergency Rooms for Rural America

Virtual Emergency Rooms for Rural America

In rural America, telemedicine is sometimes the only option for emergent patients.

As the shortage of hospitals and physicians continues to intensify in rural areas, telemedicine centers have been replacing traditional emergency departments. Physicians treat patients via cameras and computer screens, calling on nurses to provide highly specialized activities in life-threatening situations.


Video Spotlight: Telemedicine Saves Lives


This post is based on the Washington Post article, The Most Remote Emergency Room: Life and Death in Rural America, by E. Saslow, November 16, 2019, and the YouTube video, Telehealth Kiosk May Have Saved Ron Wuaten’s Life, by New York-Presbyterian Hospital, August 22, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock / Mega Pixel.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors that contribute to the disappearance of emergency departments and physicians in rural areas?

Guidance: Review the factors of location decisions. For emergency departments, the factors contributing to their disappearance include limited markets, small proportions of privately insured patients, and low availability of qualified labor. For physicians, the limited entertainment and cultural opportunities as well as poor career advancement and wealth prospects are deterrents.

2. What are the quality trade-offs for patients receiving virtual emergency care?

Guidance: When there is no Continue reading

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