Creating a Tool for Rapid Holistic Assessment and Rating of Post-Earthquake Hospital Functional

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Boston, Megan

Hospitals play a critical role in ensuring community safety. It is imperative that they remain operational during and after an earthquake, to provide immediate and ongoing medical care. However, experience shows frequent closures and evacuations of hospitals during and after earthquakes. These decisions are frequently made quickly out of concern for patient and staff safety, and occur within minutes or hours of the event, prior to any formal assessment of structural and non-structural components. Emergency managers and facility operators need a rapid rating tool to assess damage and predict hospital functionality based on limited information. Such a tool would improve access to medical services and reduce the number of unnecessary hospital evacuations and closures during a critical time of earthquake recovery.

This research project works on creating the framework for developing a modelling tool that estimates functionality based on estimated physical damage and other disruptions at the time of an earthquake and predicts the ability of the hospital to provide medical care to the injured. The model incorporates a holistic evaluation matrix that takes inputs of physical damage, utility and back up outages, supplies and equipment, staffing, business and record functions, and facility access to estimate hospital functionality (service availability and capacity). The matrix and model aim to address challenges in estimating quantity and quality of service after a disaster. Outputs of the final model will provide a hospital rating – an indication of the hospital safety and functionality – and inform decisions for evacuations, partial or complete closure, or continued operations.

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