Opportunity is a Big Responsibility in Patient Care
There is no doubt that opportunity exists in times of crisis, but our social and professional responsibilities must be the primary decision drivers before engaging it. Like many reading this, we have experienced a daily barrage of emails from companies seeking our influence to peddle their COVID-19 products like KN95 masks and testing solutions.
First, with regard to the sale of PPE such as KN95 masks, we must ask how we as an organization are equipped to sell, assure quality, and distribute seamlessly to our customers. Equally important are the ethics surrounding the opportunity. Are we the best option to pursue this opportunity or are we simply getting in the way because there's a sale to be made? To answer that we must determine if our involvement would unintentionally cause a supply chain disruption. We can't afford to disrupt the supply chain by preventing important supplies from reaching markets that must be prioritized. The responsible and ethical thing to do is to let the trusted experts in the distribution and logistics business be the spearhead of these efforts.
Testing is a different animal altogether. Nearly every COVID-19 testing solution that is presented to us has a different collection method, analytical method, and instrument platform. We share the view of Dr. Deborah Birx, who indicated on NBC's Meet the Press on April 26, 2020, that a testing breakthrough is needed to meet the world's testing reliability needs.
It is the Wild West out there
A leap in scientific discovery and technological advancement is required to fulfill the surveillance, diagnostic, and monitoring needs in the US and abroad. This was echoed by Dr. Michael Olsterholm from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota expanded on the testing situation.
He indicated that the FDA is not able to police the products or services entering the diagnostic market stating, "It is the Wild West out there." Allowing substandard quality in diagnostic services causes mass confusion, distrust, and the creation of misinformation. This waste of valuable time and resources cannot be afforded when working on a solution to a complex and formidable public health crisis. To that end, the responsibility is again ours to let the researchers guide the testing R&D and channel the resulting products appropriately and responsibly. To distribute tests of unverified origin to the public compromises the moral fabric and ethical responsibility we're entrusted with as healthcare providers.
Our Ethical Responsibility
With great opportunity comes great responsibility. Times of crisis present moments of opportunity, but mishandling them, misrepresenting them, and misappropriating them is simply profiteering.