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Bioterrorism and Health System Preparedness

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Slide Presentation by Robert G. Harmon, M.D., M.P.H.


On May 1, 2002, Robert G. Harmon, M.D., M.P.H., made a presentation in a Web-assisted teleconference at Session 3, which was entitled "Assessing Hospital and Health System Preparedness and Response."

This is the text version of Dr. Harmon's slide presentation. Select to access the slides or to access the streaming video of Bioterrorism and Health System Preparedness.


Assessing Hospital and Health System Preparedness and Response

Robert G. Harmon, M.D., M.P.H., Vice-President and National Medical Director for Optum/United Health Group
Chair of the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) Subcommittee on Prevention & Public Health

Slide 1

The Role of Health Plans in Addressing Bioterrorism

  • Early Detection & Surveillance.
  • Response to Events.
  • Outreach to Community Stakeholders.

Slide 2

Early Detection & Surveillance

Unique capacity to identify sentinel events & illness clusters.

  • Automated outpatient systems and nurse call lines for early identification of symptom patterns.
  • Real-time ambulatory & patient diagnosis/chief-complaint data identifying unusual illness clusters.
  • Electronic dissemination to public health authorities.

Slide 3

Response to Events

Unique capacity for accurate & timely information to providers and consumers.

  • Two-way communication via nurse call lines, behavioral health call centers and case managers.
  • E-mail, faxes, newsletters and mailings to employer groups, providers and consumers.
  • Alerts to providers for CME training opportunities.

Slide 4

Outreach to Community Stakeholders

  • Collaboration with local public health, police, fire and EMS officials.
  • Direct communication with Governors and State emergency planning offices.
  • Development of emergency preparedness planning templates and checklists with scenario training.

Slide 5

Efforts to Develop Health Plan Bioterrorism Readiness

  • Individual plans engaged with local public health officials.
    • Understanding public health resources and needs.
    • Communicating health plan resources and capacities.
  • National Engagement.
    • AAHP Board of Directors task force.
    • Coordination with Federal government agencies.
    • Developed a health plan readiness checklist.
    • Flow of information to health plans and physicians.

Slide 6

Lessons Learned From 9/11 and the October Anthrax Exposures

  • Back-up operations to support health plan members.
  • Employee assistance programs.
  • Behavioral support-critical incident stress management.
  • Health plan physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health specialists mobilized.
  • Communications and IT support.
  • Assessing Hospital and Health System Preparedness and Response.

Current as of June 2002


Internet Citation

Assessing Hospital and Health System Preparedness and Response. Presentation by Robert G. Harmon at Web-Assisted Teleconference, "Bioterrorism and Health System Preparedness: Emerging Tools, Methods, and Strategies." Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/ulp/bioteleconf/session3/harmontxt.htm


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