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disaster preparedness, clinical engineering, systems engineering, alternate sites of care, health technology design, dual-use infrastructure
GLOBAL DISASTER UNPREPAREDNESS - The global COVID-19 crisis of 2020 has thrown a disturbing spotlight on the many ways in which healthcare systems, governments, medical industries, markets, and healthcare professions have been dangerously fragmented, unprepared, under-resourced, tragically slow and uncoordinated in responding to the most disruptive medical disaster of our times. Despite numerous threat-analysis studies, detailed pandemic scenarios and simulations by state and Federal agencies, despite billions of dollars spent on post-9/11 international disaster preparedness, and repeated top-levels warnings, the world’s governments, markets and healthcare systems have failed to prepare and prevent a health disaster from exploding into a multi-dimensional catastrophe.
The fragmentation of plans and competencies across sectors, complicated by political decision-making, clearly demand mission-critical re-organization among the institutional players, with more coordinated, integrated, and systems-oriented professional approaches worldwide, and active cultivation of public health intelligence. For the reasons that follow, Clinical and Biomedical Engineers are among the best-suited health professionals to assume an expanded and comprehensive leadership role in this urgently needed transformation.