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Ready for the next one? Public health preparedness of hospitals, countries, and collaborators.

Highlights from Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 15(4), Aug 2021.

Wang Y-shang, Sun H-jun, Zou J-chen, Ning J, Du Y. Evaluation Model for Hospital Response Capability for Public Health Emergency. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Cambridge University Press; 2021;15(4):403–8.

The authors explore hospital response capability. Using grounded theory, they looked for an objective measure to evaluate hospital preparedness in responding to public health emergencies. The results could be grouped into four main factors: preparation, treatment, emergency awareness, and prehospital first-aid. Here’s a table from the study with a larger description of some of the things that create disaster response capability.

Figure 1. Evaluation Index System.

Their own reported limitations were the biases inherent in self-reports, and the study was cross-sectional, not longitudinal (which they felt would have better reflected response capability). Another potential limitation is that a study done in Chinese hospitals might not easily transfer to systems in other countries. And the methodology of grounded theory is mainly for theory development (see ( for a nice explanation).

However you accept these limitations, this still might not leave you feeling very prepared for the next public health crisis (if the current one ever ends) from a hospital point of view. The last few years have demonstrated that no epidemic can be only local. So a single hospital’s preparedness is only a drop in the bucket. A crisis that crosses international borders needs international involvement. Another article from this same issue, speaks to public health preparedness on a national scale.


Haeberer M, Tsolova S, Riley P, Cano-Portero R, Rexroth U, Ciotti M, et al. Tools for Assessment of Country Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies: A Critical Review. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Cambridge University Press; 2021;15(4):431–41.