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Simulation of a Hospital Disaster Plan: A Virtual, Live Exercise

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012

Jeffrey M. Franc-Law
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Michael Bullard
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
F. Della Corte
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Introduction:

Currently, there is no widely available method to evaluate an emergency department disaster plan. Creation of a standardized patient data- base and the use of a virtual, live exercise may lead to a standardized and reproducible method that can be used to evaluate a disaster plan.

Purpose:

A virtual, live exercise was designed with the primary objective of evaluating a hospital's emergency department disaster plan. Education and training of participants was a secondary goal.

Methods:

A database (disastermed.ca) of histories, physical examination findings, and laboratory results for 136 simulated patients was created using information derived from actual patient encounters.The patient database was used to perform a virtual, live exercise using a training version of the emergency department's information system software.

Results:

Several solutions to increase patient flow were demonstrated during the exercise. Conducting the exercise helped identify several faults in the hospital disaster plan, including outlining the important rate-limiting step. In addition, a significant degree of under-triage was demonstrated. Estimates of multiple markers of patient flow were identified and compared to Canadian guidelines. Most participants reported that the exercise was a valuable learning experience.

Conclusions:

A virtual, live exercise using the disastermed.ca patient database was an inexpensive method to evaluate the emergency department disaster plan. This included discovery of new approaches to managing patients, delineating the rate-limiting steps, and evaluating triage accuracy. Use of the patient timestamps has potential as a standardized international benchmark of hospital disaster plan efficacy. Participant satisfaction was high.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2008

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References

1.Dong, SL, Bullard, MJ, Meurer, DP, Blitz, S, Ohinmaa, A, Holroyd, BR, Rowe, BH: Reliability of computerized emergency triage. Acad Emerg Med 2006; 13:269275.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
2. disastermed.ca. Available at http://www.disastermed.ca. Accessed 15 November 2006.Google Scholar
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6. Disaster tutorial. Available at http://www.disastermed.ca&/tutorial.html. Accessed 15 November 2006.Google Scholar
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8. Emergency Management Division, Michigan Department of State Police. Disaster exercise manual: Guide for exercising emergency operations plans.Jan 2004.Available at http://www.michigan.gov&/documents&/pub702-Disaster_Exercise_Manual1-14- 04_83182_7.pdf. Accessed 16 November 2006.Google Scholar
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