Objective: The objective of this article is to trace the hospital emergency preparedness movement in the United States, strengthen the case for hospital investments in emergency preparedness, and make recommendations to ensure sustainability of the program. Design/Approach: This article is a narrative review. Main themes from the literature about the US Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) are discussed, beginning with the trends in funding levels of the HPP, the rise of regional healthcare coalitions, preparedness performance measures, and the challenges faced over the past 15 years of HPP activities. Finally, recommendations are made about ways to sustain the program. Findings: The HPP was established in 2002 and funding for the program has seen a 56 percent decrease over the last 16 years. Beyond the initial investment in supplies and equipment, hospitals have received very little of the healthcare preparedness funding. Disaster drills and exercises to test emergency plans in hospitals are perceived as a costly distraction from daily work. The biggest challenge is the lack of engagement and support from hospital leadership. Conclusions: To ensure the sustainability of the HPP, the positive impact of preparedness activities on the hospital's day-to-day operations must be demonstrated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Emergency Medicine
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Safety Research