Survey indicates physician's overestimate Ebola assessment ability

The Ebola virus | Courtesy of the CDC
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) said Aug. 27 its recent survey found that a majority of U.S. physicians report confidence in their assessment capabilities regarding Ebola virus detection.

In the most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, four cases have shown up in the U.S. after travelers came into the country after being in an infection zone or were associated with the treatment of an active case. With increased media coverage of the outbreak, the MGH team said this lead to inappropriate measures being taken on individuals that had no risk of having the disease, including quarantine of health workers returning from West Africa and placing restrictions on those who traveled to non-affected areas in Africa.

According to the study, only approximately 50 to 70 percent of respondents gave answers that fit U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines when asked about how they would manage a hypothetical Ebola case.

“It could be that those not working in areas where they might encounter Ebola received less information from their institutions or local government sources, making them more fearful of the disease and more aggressive in evaluating potential cases,” MGH Dr. Ishani Ganguli, who authored the report, said. “While 88 percent did report having consulted the CDC guidelines on Ebola at least once during the preceding year – and the CDC was the most commonly cited source of information – our results suggest the need to provide additional resources, like decision support hot lines."

This survey, taken in late 2014 and early 2015, was sent to 460 respondents which included internal medicine and geriatrics specialists. The findings have been published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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