The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
JSH designed the study and developed the tools. HZH participated in design of the study and development of the tools, and supervised the data collection and data entry. XML performed data checkup, data analysis and drafted the manuscript. All authors participated in discussion, revision and approved of the final manuscript.
Hospital preparedness is critical for the early detection and management of public health emergency (PHE). Understanding the current status of PHE preparedness is the first step in planning to enhance hospitals' capacities for emergency response. The objective of this study is to understand the current status of hospital PHE preparedness in China.
Four hundred hospitals in four city and provinces of China were surveyed using a standardized questionnaire. Data related to hospital demographic data; PHE preparation; response to PHE in community; stockpiles of drugs and materials; detection and identification of PHE; procedures for medical treatment; laboratory diagnosis and management; staff training; and risk communication were collected and analyzed.
Valid responses were received from 318 (79.5%) of the 400 hospitals surveyed. Of the valid responses, 264 (85.2%) hospitals had emergency plans; 93.3% had command centres and personnel for PHE; 22.9% included community organisations during the training for PHE; 97.4% could transport needed medical staff to a PHE; 53.1% had evaluated stockpiles of drugs; 61.5% had evaluated their supply systems; 55.5% had developed surveillance systems; and 74.6% could monitor the abnormity(See in appendix). Physicians in 80.2% of the analyzed hospitals reported up-to-date knowledge of their institution's PHE protocol. Of the 318 respondents, 97.4% followed strict laboratory regulations, however, only about 33.5% had protocols for suspected samples. Furthermore, only 59.0% could isolate and identify salmonella and staphylococcus and less than 5% could isolate and identify human H5N1 avian flu and SARS. Staff training or drill programs were reported in 94.5% of the institutions; 50.3% periodically assessed the efficacy of staff training; 45% had experts to provide psychological counselling; 12.1% had provided training for their medical staff to assess PHE-related stress. All of the above capacities related to the demographic characteristics of hospitals and will be discussed in-depth in this paper.
Our survey suggested that, at the time of the survey, hospital preparedness for PHE in China was at an early stage of development. Comprehensive measures should be taken to enhance hospital capacity in the prevention and management of PHE.