Changing Hospital Response to Emergencies

Source: EMR-ISAC, HSToday

With every natural or man-made disaster comes a renewed look at the way various sectors respond. Homeland Security Today published an article in its “Best Practices” section discussing hospital plans and how they have changed in response to events like September 11th, the anthrax letters, and Hurricane Katrina.

These and other disasters have shown gaps in training and resources that hospitals and medical systems have worked to fill. Increased training in chemical, biological, and nuclear events and changes in Federal and State regulations are two examples.

The recent mass casualty incident in Colorado will also have lessons to be learned. Some of the hospital staff have already cited their involvement in the response to the Columbine shootings as helping them be prepared for this event, while others cite the monthly drills their hospital runs, which are over and above the twice-yearly drills required.

Another aspect of the emergency planning includes how to deal with the arrival of frightened family members, inquisitive reporters, and officials. Levels of access should be clearly defined, as should the amount of information given out about the response during and after an incident.