Flu shots due as are scary headlines

John Taylor: September 07, 20070 Comments

Just learned flu shots will be available in a couple of weeks. That means holiday shopping, the Super Bowl and filing tax returns can't be far behind.

That also means the subject of "Are hospitals ready for a flu pandemic?" will be registering on the media radar. Which makes a recent Modern Healthcare magazine article worth noting.

A hospital survey by Novation, a national group purchasing organization, found that 79% of those responding said they couldn't last more than a week without having to reorder things like catheters, gowns, masks, respirators and syringes, and 25% said they only had enough supply to last four to seven days.

When you think hospital, you don't think about stockpiles of supplies -- patients expect there'll always be enough on hand.  They sure don't wonder how far the hospital is from its purveyor of N95 respirator masks. They also don't worry about temperature-controlled storehouses to prevent things like latex gloves or medications from deteriorating.  That's why folks in places like materials management departments are so important.

One thing's for sure: There'll be the usual huge stockpile of patients in seasons of respiratory distress. Oh, and one more thing: I will get my annual flu shot.