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Disaster Preparedness – Are We Really Confident?

Published December 21, 2015 8:46 AM by Silas Gossman

[Editor’s Note: this blog was originally written by Diane Hayes, president and co-founder, InCrowd]

The recent tragic events in Paris, San Bernardino or Colorado Springs lead crisis care teams instinctively to wonder “how would I handle this if it happened at my hospital?”   

The answer is concerning. Fully two-thirds of ER and critical care clinicians in the United States said they didn’t feel their hospitals were prepared to handle the victims of the next terrorist attack or other mass casualty event, according to an instant snapshot taken on November 24, 2015, several days after the Paris terrorist events.  

The microsurvey, compiled by InCrowd, a provider of real-time market intelligence to life sciences and healthcare firms, asked US ER and critical care physicians and ER and critical care nurses from its Crowd of 1.8 million global clinicians about the operational readiness of their respective hospitals.  Respondents rated readiness on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 and 2 being “I strongly agree” and “I agree” respectively, to their confidence in preparedness, and ranked and rated other key aspects of disaster response.

The findings highlight specific areas of operational readiness where staff harbored concerns:

- Only 32% strongly agreed or agreed that their hospital had adequate staff to mobilize in a similar situation to the attacks that occurred in Paris in November. 

- Only 41% strongly agreed or agreed their hospital was ready to respond to the victims of a similar terrorist attacks. Available beds (only 26% believed they were sufficient) and adequate blood supply (only 32%) were the top concerns.  

- Surgeon availability is paramount during disasters, yet only half of the respondents felt their facility would have enough surgeons on hand during a mass casualty event. Doctors in particular were concerned about this, with only 33% of them in the survey agreeing or strongly agreeing that their hospital had adequate surgical availability for such an event, compared to 56% of nurses agreeing or strongly agreeing. 

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- Additional triage staff and additional staff training top the ranks as the most needed elements for hospital readiness, at 30% and 31% respectively. However many polled were undecided about the readiness of resources and needs. 

- Only 35% strongly agreed or agreed that their facility would have enough mental health staff available during a terrorist event—despite 42% of nurses agreeing or strongly agreeing that patients who are taken to the ER recently were exhibiting higher anxiety.  

The microsurvey included 52 ER physicians and 50 ER nurses who responded in under 2 hours using InCrowd’s real-time platform.

Diane Hayes, PhD is president and co-founder of InCrowd (incrowdnow.com), a real-time market intelligence solution for the life sciences.

posted by Silas Gossman

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