Introduction: General hospitals in Israel are required to develop standards of procedures (SOPs) to facilitate the management of mass-casualty incidents (MCIs). These SOPs represent the initial step in a continuous process, providing guidelines for hospitals to manage MCIs in an organized and efficient manner. Evaluation of the preparedness levels of hospitals in dealing with MCIs is required in order to promote an effective response, and to identify factors that might impact the quality of SOPs. The aim of this study was to identify the characteristics of hospitals that have an impact on the preparation of SOPs.
Methods: An evaluation tool was developed to assess the SOPs from 22 hospitals during the management of a MCI. The results of the evaluations were analyzed, in relation to the size, trauma capabilities, ownership, geographic location, urban versus rural status of the hospitals, the proximity to other hospitals, participation in drills during the year prior to the evaluation, and number of actual MCIs the hospital managed in the past three years.
Results: The evaluation scores of the SOPs of 11 of the 22 hospitals (50%) were very high, so their SOPs did not require modifications. The SOPs of four hospitals (18%) were rated highly, requiring only minor modifications. The SOPs of four hospitals (18%) received poor ratings, requiring major modifications, and three hospitals (14%) were found to have incomplete SOPs and received very poor ratings. No significant differences were found between the ratings of SOPs in relation to the different characteristics of the hospitals analyzed. A low correlation between the level of SOPs and the number of MCIs that the hospital managed was found (r = 0.266, NS).
Conclusions: The tool developed to evaluate the quality of the SOPs of hospitals to manage MCIs was logistically feasible and capable of differentiating between hospital SOPs. The comprehensiveness and completeness of the SOPs appears to be unrelated to the characteristics of the hospitals included in this study. Of particular note was the lack of a significant correlation between the SOP rating and the number of actual MCIs managed by a hospital.