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AHRQ unveils hospital bioterrorism preparedness tool

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a new online survey. Select to access the survey. Hospitals can download and use this site as a checklist for assessing their capacity to handle potential victims of bioterrorism attacks or for evaluating existing emergency plans.

The 42 questions in AHRQ's Bioterrorism Emergency Planning and Preparedness Questionnaire for Healthcare Facilities cover subjects such as biological weapons training for personnel, procedures to permit rapid recognition of credentialed staff from other facilities, on-call nursing policies, and designated areas of emergency overflow for patients. The survey also asks hospitals about other preparedness factors, such as their supply of selected antibiotics and the diagnostic capability of their in-hospital laboratory.

The survey was developed as part of AHRQ's $5 million bioterrorism initiative launched in 2000 to examine the needs for health system preparedness and capacity for bioterrorism attacks. The main purpose of the project was to develop and pilot test tools that will help hospitals and public health systems assess their ability to respond effectively to a bioterrorism attack.

The survey is the second online tool provided by the Agency to help medical practitioners prepare for bioterrorism events. AHRQ also sponsors a Web site at the University of Alabama's Center for Disaster Preparedness that offers free, online continuing education courses for hospital-based physicians, nurses, radiologists, and other medical personnel on topics such as the identification of potential bioterrorism agents, including smallpox and anthrax, and commonly associated illnesses. Select to access continuing education courses. Exit Disclaimer

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