How to React Following Healthcare’s Toughest Flu Season in Decades

By Bob Ortiz | October 4, 2018

Customers have expressed how tough this last flu season was because they said patients didn’t have the same traditional flu symptoms. Some didn’t even have a fever. Medline was hearing this before the CDC announced the severity of the 2017-2018 flu season. An estimated 80,000 people died because of the flu.

Medline continues to work with physicians to make sure they have emergency inventory for items such as flu masks during times of increased influenza activity. Our teams are even working months in advance through our flu vaccine program to service large and small physician practices, universities and long-term care facilities so they have the flu vaccine. One of the top recommendations for protection from the CDC continues to be the flu vaccine.

It is important clinicians are protected and exposure among patients is limited as well.


CDC Protective Actions

Along with the recommendation of administering the flu vaccine, the CDC continues to advocate people stay home when sick and implement proper hand washing protocols. From the caregiver to the patient, there are multiple ways the flu can spread, but there are solutions grounded in best practice to fight and prevent the spread of viruses.


Proper Cleaning

Proper disinfection of surfaces in doctors’ offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities is critical. These facilities should make it a point to focus on cleaning during flu season. Rosie Lyles, MD, Medline, is monitoring flu activity as well. During the 2017-2018 flu season she identified three ways facilities need to re-think their infection prevention practices and techniques.

“I often see some staff bypassing this critical step,” says Lyles. “Always ensure surfaces remain wet for the duration of the manufacturer-recommended contact time.”


Don’t Wait for the Outbreak

Medline has conversations with healthcare facilities year-round because the battle against the next strain of influenza happens months ahead of any outbreak. On-staff clinicians understand the stress a flu outbreak puts on a health system, on the office or even the university and that experience helps drive the programs and solutions offered each and every day.


Bob Ortiz

Senior Vice President of Physician Office Sales

Bob Ortiz is the senior vice president of the physician office sales division at Medline and has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare distribution. He joined Medline in 2010 to develop the company’s physician office program. In his role, he manages a national team of 200 sales reps, both outside and inside sales, as well as sales managers, corporate accounts specialists and capital equipment specialists. Prior to his tenure with Medline, Bob worked at McKesson Medical-Surgical as a Physician Office sales rep and division manager for 19 years. He began his sales career with Procter & Gamble. Bob was also an active duty U.S. army captain and frequently writes about military and veterans’ issues. Bob received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington and Lee University and Masters of Science degree from the University of Southern California.

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