HKS Releases Report: ‘ER Contagion: 8 Ways to Beat the Second Wave’

HKS has released the report “ER Contagion: 8 Ways to Beat the Second Wave.” It presents key ideas for upgrading medical facilities that may face a “second wave” of COVID-19, predicted in the fall of 2020, and future pandemics.

COVID-19 has disrupted healthcare systems and economies across the globe, and hospitals are at the forefront of battling the pandemic. The impact to facilities has ranged from an overwhelming influx of predominately COVID-19-positive patients to an uneasy calm with empty beds, quiet emergency departments and totally deserted operating rooms.

The ER COVID-19 Design Task Force — a working group of clinical, design and engineering experts — was organized to review and capture this new information for future use. The focus of the task force has been to compile the knowledge and lessons learned, and then to distill that information into practical solutions that can be applied to the response for the “second wave,” as well as future, long-term design solutions applicable to new construction and major remodeling projects.

The task force reviewed previous publications and news stories, and facility responses during the pandemic, including those that have proven unsuccessful. Key frontline clinical, administrative and executive staff from hospitals around the country have been extensively interviewed to gain insights into their various solutions. Selected international projects were also reviewed. No one strategy or modification has been a panacea. The strategies include both process and facility modifications.

The key ideas shared in the report are potential concepts, features and solutions that are no way intended to be prescriptive or “must dos.” They are considerations and options to assist facilities with decisions and paths.

For details or to download the report, visit

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Posted July 1, 2020

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