Physicians, nurses, and other health care providers initiated the #GetMePPE movement on Twitter to spread awareness of the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Dwindling supplies, such as face masks, gowns and goggles, and inadequate production to meet increasing demand have placed health care workers and patients at risk. The momentum of the #GetMePPE Twitter hashtag resulted in the creation of a petition to urge public officials to address the PPE shortage through increased funding and production. Simultaneously, the GetUsPPE.org website was launched through the collaboration of physicians and software engineers to develop a digital platform for the donation, request, and distribution of multi-modal sources of PPE. GetUsPPE.org and #GetMePPE were merged in an attempt to combine public engagement and advocacy on social media with the coordination of PPE donation and distribution. Within 10 days, over 1800 hospitals and PPE suppliers were registered in a database that enabled the rapid coordination and distribution of scarce and in-demand materials. One month after its launch, the organization had distributed hundreds of thousands of PPE items and had built a database of over 6000 PPE requesters. The call for action on social media and the rapid development of this digital tool created a productive channel for the public to contribute to the health care response to COVID-19 in meaningful ways. #GetMePPE and GetUsPPE.org were able to mobilize individuals and organizations outside of the health care system to address the unmet needs of the medical community. The success of GetUsPPE.org demonstrates the potential of digital tools as a platform for larger health care institutions to rapidly address urgent issues in health care. In this paper, we outline this process and discuss key factors determining success.
- digital health
- health care worker
- personal protective equipment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics