There is currently no validated method for assessing hospital disaster preparedness. We determine the degree of correlation between the results of 3 methods for assessing hospital disaster preparedness: administration of an on-site survey, drill observation using a structured evaluation tool, and video analysis of team performance in the hospital incident command center.
This was a prospective, observational study conducted during a regional disaster drill, comparing the results from an on-site survey, a structured disaster drill evaluation tool, and a video analysis of teamwork, performed at 6 911-receiving hospitals in Los Angeles County, CA. The on-site survey was conducted separately from the drill and assessed hospital disaster plan structure, vendor agreements, modes of communication, medical and surgical supplies, involvement of law enforcement, mutual aid agreements with other facilities, drills and training, surge capacity, decontamination capability, and pharmaceutical stockpiles. The drill evaluation tool, developed by Johns Hopkins University under contract from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, was used to assess various aspects of drill performance, such as the availability of the hospital disaster plan, the geographic configuration of the incident command center, whether drill participants were identifiable, whether the noise level interfered with effective communication, and how often key information (eg, number of available staffed floor, intensive care, and isolation beds; number of arriving victims; expected triage level of victims; number of potential discharges) was received by the incident command center. Teamwork behaviors in the incident command center were quantitatively assessed, using the MedTeams analysis of the video recordings obtained during the disaster drill. Spearman rank correlations of the results between pair-wise groupings of the 3 assessment methods were calculated.
The 3 evaluation methods demonstrated qualitatively different results with respect to each hospital's level of disaster preparedness. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient between the results of the on-site survey and the video analysis of teamwork was -0.34; between the results of the on-site survey and the structured drill evaluation tool, 0.15; and between the results of the video analysis and the drill evaluation tool, 0.82.
The disparate results obtained from the 3 methods suggest that each measures distinct aspects of disaster preparedness, and perhaps no single method adequately characterizes overall hospital preparedness.