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Various points of dispensing (POD) areas perform different roles. There are several main areas within POD, and this paper considers on all of them. Points of dispensing are discussed in the context of antivirals.
1. With Initial Screening
The current global environment creates a large number of significant challenges for the citizens and national safety. In particular, the terrorist threats or natural disasters may cause such situations when timely help should be provided to a large fraction of the population. In this regard, the initial screening is highly important. Mass prophylaxis should be provided in order to understand the needs of the local population and increase the flexibility of the entire system.
Anti-infective therapy should be organized in no more than 48 hours (POD Training Video, 2009). All states have specific plans for distributing medicine and other complementary goods for the local population during specified term. In this way, the potential risks associated with bioterrorism are minimized. At the same time, not only federal and local authorities should participate in this process. The role of community partners is significant, as well, because they help to organize specific mechanism for the implementation of the most urgent objectives. In order to increase the overall efficiency, the operations of hospitals, clinics, and schools may provide the necessary assistance for the government structures.
Initial screening may help organize the distribution of medicine to healthy people during a large-scale emergency more effectively. Although medicines and other supplies are dispensed from one center, local flexibility is of utmost importance for the process optimization. Proper general planning and staff planning are also crucial in affecting the results of dispensing (Rebmann, 2009). POD planning is mainly organized on a local level. Although the key aspects are identical, different states have different plans that depend on the availablity of resources and the consequences of a particular event. Medical assessment includes conversation with an individual about their medical history. It is a short review that allows determining what medication should be dispensed.
2. With Disaster Triaging
The organization of specific measures may include the responses to bioterrorism events, radiological exposures, natural disasters, and infectious disease outbreaks. POD aims at delivering medication to large fractions of the population in a timely and efficient way. As medication should be distributed within 48 hours, it means that many people should be treated simultaneously. There are two or three medications that are typically used. They include doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, and amoxicillin. These types of medication are packaged accordingly and distributed to local centers. Labels are also needed in order to specify the names of patients and physicians.
Relevant information about the events and medication should be provided to the population. It is reasonable to use different languages in order to address the needs of all groups. Different options for contacting the health department should be specified, as well. In general, communications may constitute a serious problem in some cases as various emergencies create different challenges. Mobile phones, television, radio, and modern hi-tech devices may be used for organizing communication in such situations. The safe environment at all stages of the POD process should be provided. In particular, the staff, volunteers, and other parties involved should be identified and classified. The correspondence between the initial plan and actual actions should be maintained. The correct order of the POD operations should be established.
3. With Patient Counseling
Patient counseling is an important element of the POD implementation. The comprehensive POD plans are developed by different state departments, and patient counseling procedures may vary in accorddance with the local environment (NACCHO, 2012). The entrance and exit of all patients should be controlled and properly organized. Crowd control should be maintained, and all safety standards should be implemented. Communications within the POD staff may allow satisfying the needs of the local community and diminishing the total number of threats and risks in society.
The adequate training of the personnel should be provided. It may be organized through a network of local health departments. Volunteer Reception Centers may provide some assistance in this field, as well. A Job Action Sheet outlines a whole variety of measures that should be realized by a particular specialist. All types and causes of dispensing errors should be studied, and correct conclusions should be formulated (Sanchez, 2013).
Although the POD process is largely standardized, specific needs of each patient should be taken into account. Therefore, patient counseling should be very flexible and directed to the needs of the local population. The clinical interpretation functions that are acquired by corresponding experts may serve as a foundation for organizing patient counseling in the most efficient way. It is necessary to compare the actual results with the standards that are adopted by different counseling agencies. A number of modern technologies may be used for determining the main sources for optimizing the POD stages.
In general, it may be concluded that the points of dispensing allow coordinating various functions that should be fulfilled in the cases of emergency. Planning and prevention measures play a central role in the entire process as they contribute to higher productivity and efficiency of all measures. The structure of POD’s stages should correspond to the current challenges and availability of resources. Protocols and control systems are needed for the correct implementation of the selected strategies. The POD management and medical triage staff may help improve the existing organization of the stages under consideration.