Surge capacity for health care systems: early detection, methodologies, and process.

Academic Emergency Medicine

PubMedID: 17085739

Estacio PL. Surge capacity for health care systems: early detection, methodologies, and process. Acad Emerg Med. 2006;13(11):1135-7.
Excessive demand on hospital services from large-scale emergencies is something that every emergency department health care provider and hospital administrator knows could happen at any time. Nowhere in this country have we recently faced a disaster of the magnitude of concern we now face involving agents of mass destruction or social disruption, especially those in the area of infectious diseases and radiological materials. The war on terrorism is not a conventional war, and terrorists may use any means of convenience to carry out their objectives in an unpredictable time line. Have we adequately prepared for the potentially excessive surge in demand for medical services that a large-scale event could bring to our medical care system? Are our emergency departments ready for such events? Surveillance systems, such as BioWatch, BioSense, the National Biosurveillance Integration System, and the countermeasure program BioShield, offer hope that we will be able to meet these new challenges.