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Improving the resiliency of the United States healthcare system before, during, and after disasters

David B. Emigh, MPS, CP-C, FP-C, NRP, Erik Wood, MS, Tim Frazier, PhD


The current emergency standards for training, exercises, communication, coordination, and response utilized by the United States (US) healthcare system are inadequate to meet patient needs before, during, and after disasters. Through a focused review of the literature and supporting expert interviews, this study aims to identify major barriers to US healthcare system resiliency in an emergency management context. Findings include that organizations across the healthcare system remain fragmented, often acting as standalone entities instead of being part of a larger ecosystem, which weakens the overall healthcare response framework. Despite advances in collaborative technology, many healthcare organizations rely on technologies that cannot meet their needs during a major emergency or disaster. Additionally, this research indicates that training and education standards need updates to match current and future disaster healthcare needs. Finally, based on the findings, seven recommendations were made as a starting point to what must be an ongoing discussion. While the recommendations are based on data from the US, this research has both national and international implications.



US healthcare, emergency management, resiliency, disasters

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