Health Secur. 2017 May/Jun;15(3):282-287. doi: 10.1089/hs.2016.0073.
During the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the United States responded by stratifying hospitals into 1 of 3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-designated categories-based on the hospital’s ability to identify, isolate, assess, and provide care to patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus disease (EVD)-in an attempt to position the US healthcare system to safely isolate and care for potential patients. Now, with the Ebola epidemic quelled, it is crucial that we act on the lessons learned from the EVD response to broaden our national perspective on infectious disease mitigation and management, build on our newly enhanced healthcare capabilities to respond to infectious disease threats, develop a more cost-effective and sustainable model of infectious disease prevention, and continue to foster training so that the nation is not in a vulnerable position once more. We propose the formal creation of a US Highly Infectious Disease Care Network (HIDCN) modeled after 2 previous highly infectious disease consensus efforts in the United States and the European Union. A US Highly Infectious Disease Care Network can provide a common platform for the exchange of training, protocols, research, knowledge, and capability sharing among high-level isolation units. Furthermore, we envision the network will cultivate relationships among facilities and serve as a means of establishing national standards for infectious disease response, which will strengthen domestic preparedness and the nation’s ability to respond to the next highly infectious disease threat.