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Prehosp Disaster Med. 1998 Jan-Mar;13(1):29-34.

Hospital disaster management simulation system.

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  • 1Trauma Research Unit, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.



Theoretically, simulation of disastrous situations has many advantages in that it prepares hospital staff to cope with the real scenario. It is a challenge to create the database and custom-making a friendly software while still keeping it representative of a real situation. This article describes experience with developing and implementing the use of simulation software as a drilling technique used by Israeli hospitals.


The application was developed using SIMAN/ARENA software. Knowledge and a database for a basic multi-casualty incident (MCI) were developed in the pilot phase. It contains detailed descriptions of the casualties which can be compared with the real hospital capabilities (staff and infrastructure). A consensus committee decided the crucial model issues and established the thresholds for quality performance indicators. Interfaces to the each hospital's information management systems (IMS) were developed and the various output documents of each exercised step were updated. Before drilling, the hospital managerial staff received notice and had to prepare the data on the anticipated resources required. The simulation staff, as well as representatives from the hospitals, then conducted the limited scale drill (LSD).


During the LSD, the trained hospital staff were given two types of input: 1) copies of reports on patients entering the stations and had to enter them into its IMS; and 2) timed telephone notifications of problems in each station. During a 90 minutes drill, there were about 15 timely reports and 20 telephone problems. The evaluation of the LSD were based mainly on the following: 1) observing the staff solving various problems; 2) constructing a detailed picture of the situation; and 3) measuring the effectiveness of the hospital IMS. The drill ended with a discussion. Lessons are drawn from each drill in order to find methods for optimizing the conduct of the hospital. An animation tool proved to be useful in describing bottle necks in emergency room, diagnostic department, and operating rooms.


Simulation techniques and a preparatory limited scale drill have advantages in evaluating and improving preparedness of hospitals for managing an MCI before a full scale drill is carried out.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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