Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

National Hospital Available Beds for Emergencies and Disasters (HAvBED) System

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) 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 It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work.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.

Please go to for current information.

Final Report

Bioterrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies
Tools and Models for Planning and Preparedness

The National Hospital Available Beds for Emergencies and Disasters (HAvBED) System explores the feasibility of a national real-time hospital-bed tracking system to address a surge of patients during a mass casualty event. This demonstration model is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Select to download print version (PDF File, 6 MB). PDF Help.


The model, developed by Denver Health in Colorado, was tested during the summer of 2005 and is described and evaluated in this report. The model collected and integrated data from existing reporting systems and from hospitals outside those systems that entered data via a secure Web site.

The report includes:

  • A discussion of the components of the HAvBED system, including the communications protocol, database, and Geographic Information System.
  • A virtual tour of the system.
  • Standardized hospital bed definitions to provide uniform terminology for organizations tracking bed availability.
  • Reviews of existing bed-tracking systems.
  • Conceptual and technical recommendations.

The results in this report currently are being reviewed by various Federal agencies and others to determine next steps in making the model operational.


I. Summary
II. Purpose/Objectives
III. Background
IV. Methods
V. Results
   A. Review of Hospital Bed Availability Reporting Systems
   B. Review of Specific Patient Tracking Systems
   C. Hospital Bed Definitions
   D. Development of System-to-System Communication Protocol
   E. Database and Web Development
   F. Geographic Information System Development
   G. Interface and Manual Data Entry
   H. Demonstration of Real Time Hospital Bed Available (HAvBED) System
   I. HAvBED Test Period Operation
   J. User Comments
VI. Recommendations and Discussion
   A. Conceptual Recommendations
   B. Technical Recommendations
   C. Discussion: Patient Tracking
   D. Discussion: Decisions Concerning Alternate Care Facilities
   E. Discussion: Testing the System with State, Local and National Command Centers
   Appendix A. Advisory Group Members
   Appendix B. Advisory Group Meeting Minutes
   Appendix C. Questionnaire for Site Visits
   Appendix D. Preliminary System Specification Document
   Appendix E. Full HAvBED EDXL Communication Schema
   Appendix F. HAvBED Bed Definitions
   Appendix G. HAvBED EDXL Data Elements
   Appendix H. HAvBED Database and Web Services Documentation
   Appendix I. Geographic Information System (GIS) Documentation

AHRQ Publication No. 05-0103
Current as of December 2005

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


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care