disaster medical response, hospital airborne infectious isolation, pandemic flu



  1. Harrison, Jeffrey P. PhD, MBA, MHA
  2. Bukhari, Syed Zeeshan Haider MB, BS
  3. Harrison, Richard A. BS


This quantitative research study evaluates the health care infrastructure necessary to provide medical care in US hospitals during a flu pandemic. These hospitals are identified within the US health care system because they operate airborne infectious isolation rooms. Data were obtained from the 2006 American Hospital Association annual survey. This data file provides essential information on individual US hospitals and identifies the health care capabilities in US communities. Descriptive statistics were evaluated to examine hospitals with the appropriate infrastructure to treat a flu pandemic. In addition, geographic information system software was used to identify geographic areas where essential infrastructure is lacking. The study found 3,341 US hospitals operate airborne infectious isolation rooms, representing 69% of reporting hospitals. The results also indicate that those hospitals with airborne infectious isolation rooms are larger and are located in metropolitan areas. The study has managerial implications associated with local medical disaster response and policy implications on the allocation of disaster resources.