Edited by Myron D. Fottler, Donna Malvey and Donna J. Slovensky
Chapter 7: Disaster preparedness and response
It should be noted at the onset of this exploration of the subject of disaster preparedness and response for healthcare organizations in the United States that, relative to many of the more mature areas in healthcare management research, it is a field in its infancy and is rapidly evolving in response to a broad spectrum of external stimuli, including newly discovered or created threats, resource and funding limitations and opportunities, political and societal pressures, regulatory and accreditation standards, among many others. The dynamic and evolving quality of our understanding of the topic is reflective of the chaotic nature of events and of our responses to those events, both of which are important aspects to study. Our shifting focus, in research and practice, on the various phases of the emergency management cycle can be observed in the preparedness lexicon, wherein we use the terms “disaster preparedness and response,” “emergency management,” “disaster management,” “emergency preparedness,” simply “preparedness” and a host of others to describe the continuum of activities undertaken to ensure the healthcare organization is capable of continuing operations during and directly after a catastrophic event that results in a rapid increase in demand for emergency services and medical care.
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