- Walters, EL; Thomas, TL; Corbett, SW; Williams, KL; Williams, T; Wittlake, WA
- Purpose: The general population relies on the healthcare system for needed care during disasters. Unfortunately, the system is already operating at capacity. Healthcare facilities must develop plans to accommodate the surge of patients generated during disasters. The purpose of this paper is to examine a concept for providing independent, technologically advanced medical surge capacity via a Convertible Use Rapidly Expandable (CURE) Center. Design/methodology/approach: To develop this concept, a site was chosen to work through a scenario involving a large earthquake. Although the study-affiliated hospital was built with then state-of-the-art technologies, there is still concern for its continued functioning should a large earthquake occur. Working within these parameters, the planning team applied the concepts to a specific educational complex. Because this complex was in the initial building stages, required attributes could be incorporated, making the concept a potential reality. Challenges with operations, communications, and technologies were identified and addressed in the context of planning for delivery of quality healthcare. Findings: The process highlighted several requirements. Planning must include community leaders, enhanced by agencies or individuals experienced in disaster response. Analyzing regional threats in the context of available resources comes first, and reaching a consensus on the scope of operation is required. This leads to an operational plan, and in turn to understanding the needs for a specific site. Use of computer modeling and virtual deployment of the center indicates where additional planning is needed. Originality/value: Previous strategies for increasing surge capacity rely on continued availability of hospital resources, alternative care sites with minimal medical capability, or, costly hospital expansions. Development of a site-specific CURE Center can allow communities to provide fiscally responsible solutions for sustained medical care during disasters. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
- July 1, 2013
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