Using the example of surveys conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) regarding the management of Ebola cases in the United States, we aimed to demonstrate how survey-based information networks can provide timely data to inform best practices in responding to public health emergencies.
ACEP conducted 3 surveys among its members in October to November 2014 to assess the state of Ebola preparedness in emergency departments. We analyzed the surveys to illustrate the types of information that can be gleaned from such surveys. We analyzed qualitative data through theme extraction and collected quantitative results through cross-tabulations and logistic regression examining associations between outcomes and potential contributing factors.
In the first survey, most respondents perceived their hospital as being reasonably prepared for Ebola. The second survey revealed significant associations between a hospital’s preparedness and its perceived ability to admit Ebola patients. The third survey identified 3 hospital characteristics that were significantly and independently associated with perceived ability to admit Ebola patients: large size, previous Ebola screening experience, and physician- and nurse-led hospital preparedness.
Professional associations can use their member networks to collect timely survey data to inform best practices during and immediately after public health emergencies. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:681–690)
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