Israeli Hospitals are required to maintain a high level of emergency preparedness.
To investigate the effect of on-going use of an evaluation tool on acute-care hospitals' emergency preparedness for mass casualty events (MCE).
Evaluation of emergency preparedness for MCE was carried out in all acute-care hospitals, based on an evaluation tool consisting of 306 objective and measurable parameters. Two cycles of evaluations were conducted in 2005 to 2009 and the scores were calculated to detect differences.
A significant increase was found in the mean total scores of emergency preparedness between the two cycles of evaluations (from 77.1 to 88.5). An increase was found in scores for standard operating procedures, training and equipment, but the change was significant only in the training category. The relative increase was highest in hospitals that did not experience real MCE.
This study offers a structured and practical approach for ongoing improvement of emergency preparedness, based on validated measurable benchmarks. An ongoing assessment of the level of emergency preparedness motivates hospitals' management and staff to improve their capabilities and thus results in a more effective response mechanism for emergency scenarios.
Utilization of predetermined and measurable benchmarks allows the institutions being assessed to improve their level of performance in the evaluated areas. The expectation is that these benchmarks will allow for a better response to actual MCEs. The study further demonstrated that even hospitals without “real-life” experience can gear up using preset benchmarks and reach a high standard of mass casualty event preparedness.