When crisis hits, healthcare professionals are charged with allocating scarce resources to achieve the greatest benefit to the population. This can require a shift from conventional standards of care to what are known as crisis standards of care. For example, nurse-to-patient ratios may be extended or certain segments of the population may have to receive priority access to a vaccine, or other medical resource. The ability to move quickly when a crisis hits depends upon establishing the different standards of care as well as the trigger points for activating them.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the Department of Health and Human Services has spotlighted the work of the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois in moving toward implementation of updated crisis standards of care from the Institutes of Medicine (IOM). Dr. Suzet McKinney (Cohort IX) wrote an article (TRACIE-Newsletter-The-Exchange-2-9-2016_Vol 1 Issue 1) on the work to make the vast amount of information available from IOM more accessible in crisis situations and to help other jurisdictions understand how to implement a structured, comprehensive planning process. This work began as an NPLI class project of which McKinney was a part along with Eric Larson, Stephen Jackson, Martin Raniowski, Jim Tyson, and Ithan Yanofsky.
“One of the hallmarks of a successful NPLI project is that is it has a life beyond the classroom,” McKinney told us. “I’m so pleased that our work continues to inform what happens here in Chicago. Establishing critical standards of care is an important part of planning for a major incident so it is great to see that what we have put in place in Chicago and Illinois can help other jurisdictions facing similar challenges.”
McKinney continues not only with the implementation of her original project in her role of Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District Commission but also mentoring new projects in her role as an NPLI program faculty member and Instructor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.