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Administrator's Guide

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which was discontinued on June 30, 2011, in a realignment of Federal efforts.

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

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1. Introduction

With the attacks of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, and more recently the potential of a flu pandemic, public attention has increasingly focused on the ability of our Nation's health care system to respond to mass casualty incidents. In response to this concern, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and  Health Resources and Services Administration, developed "Preparedness for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) Events: Questionnaire for Health Care Facilities."

The questionnaire, funded by HRSA, was developed through an AHRQ contract with Booz Allen Hamilton, with the advice and consultation of an expert panel. The panel consisted of medical subject matter experts trained and experienced in the hospital care of victims of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and/or explosive events. While the questionnaire covers major areas of hospital preparedness, it should not be considered definitive. Each hospital must take into account specific preparedness needs related to its own environment, facilities, staff, and patient population.

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1.1.  Purpose

This Administrator's Guide is intended for the individual at the State or local health department or multi-hospital health care system who will be responsible for administering the questionnaire and analyzing the resulting data. Hereafter, we will refer to this individual as the "administrator." 

The Guide provides an overview of the questionnaire and details on its use. It contains information on the following items: 

  • Logging in and changing passwords.
  • Viewing completed data.
  • Exporting data into an analytical tool.
  • Scoring the completed data.
  • Suggestions for supporting users.

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2. Administration Logistics

As the individual responsible for the questionnaire administration and data oversight, there are several functions that the administrator may provide. These include communicating the purpose and processes associated with the questionnaire, answering questions from the respondent community, monitoring response rates of the responder community, compiling and analyzing the data, and providing any necessary reports. The following sections provide direction and supporting information to fulfill those roles. 

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2.1. Overall Executive Functions

While this guide primarily addresses technical issues, the administrator must also consider a number of overall executive functions. These include providing any pre-questionnaire communiqués to the target community, as well as ongoing user support. These are discussed in subsequent sections.

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2.1.1. Questionnaire Communiqués

Ideally, the administrator or a designee should notify the potential respondents. This communiqué will describe the purpose of the questionnaire, the submission deadline, use of the data, roles and responsibilities, and what to expect. In addition, the administrator should consider sending another version of the communiqué out approximately half way through the questionnaire administration period to thank those individuals who responded and to attempt to bolster response rates among the nonresponders. 

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2.1.2. Ongoing User Support

The administrator should consider offering ongoing respondent support for questions or technical difficulty, including  the point of contact's name, telephone number, and/or E-mail address, as well as an estimate of how long the user can expect to wait for help (e.g., immediate, within a business day, etc.).

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The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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