The crosscutting benefits of hospital emergency preparedness investments to daily operations: A hospital senior leadership perspective

Kelli Gribben, Sharon Medcalf, Harlan Sayles, Ronald J. Shope, Shreya Roy, Jeanne S. Ringel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hospitals are an integral part of community resiliency during and after a disaster or emergency event. In addition to community-level planning through healthcare coalitions, hospitals are required to test and update emergency plans to comply with accreditation standards at their own expense. Justifying costs related to investments in emergency preparedness can be a barrier, as these events are relatively rare. Little is known about the crosscutting benefits of investments in daily operations including patient care. This study investigated whether hospital investments in emergency preparedness had a perceived impact on daily operations from a senior leadership perspective. Using a cross-sectional study design, a 39-item survey was emailed and mailed to chief executive officers of all 105 Nebraska hospitals. Most respondents indicated that drills and exercises, staff training, and updating emergency plans had a positive impact on daily operations. A relatively small proportion (≤11%) of respondents indicated that costs of buying decontamination equipment, personal protective equipment, and costs associated with staff training and drills/exercises had a negative impact on daily operations. No differences were noted between rural and urban locations or between hospitals that allocate funds in the budget versus those that do not. The majority of hospitals in our study are likely to continue to invest over the next 3 years, inferring a sincere commitment by hospital senior leadership to continue to invest in emergency preparedness. Future research using longitudinal design and objective measures of investments and daily benefits is needed to support a business case for hospital preparedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-417
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Security
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Emergency preparedness investments
  • Hospital preparedness/response
  • Public health preparedness/response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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