U.S. Hospitals Better Prepared for Medical Emergencies

Sherry Harowitz

Hospitals have stockpiled emergency supplies and medicines, have improved communication systems,conduct more frequent and higher quality disaster exercises, and better coordinate plans with communities. Those are among the findings of a new report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The study, titled "Hospitals Rising to the Challenge," was carried out under contract by the  University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Biosecurity.

Mainly progress has been made for dealing with what the report calls "common medical disasters." Truly catastrophic events would likely still be beyond the capabilities of the country's medical systems.

The key findings section highlights that: "One of the most significant factors contributing to strengthened healthcare preparedness is the emergence of Healthcare Coalitions, which...have involved collaboration and networking among hospitals and between hospitals, public health departments, and emergency management and response agencies. These coalitions represent the beginning of a coordinated communitywide approach to medical disaster response."

Another factor has been the appointment of disaster coordinators within hospitals.

For more information, also see the HHS Hospital Preparedness Program.




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