SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), in conjunction with the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 20 development partners, today announced the release of the National Health Security Preparedness Index™ (NHSPI™), a new way to measure and advance the nation’s readiness to protect people during disasters.
The 2013 NHSPI™ looks collectively at the health preparedness of states, including Illinois. IDPH can use the index to inform policy and resource decisions, guide quality improvement, and encourage shared responsibility for preparedness across communities.
“The tornadoes and severe storms we experienced in Illinois last month are a stark reminder of the importance of being prepared,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “This first-of-its-kind Index is a growing measure of how well we are all working together, not just public health and healthcare, to best prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from public health threats. This tool can help Illinois zero in on our areas of strength as well as opportunities to advance our future efforts.”
The 2013 Index results identify the following strengths in Illinois:
• Health Surveillance/ Laboratory Testing – the ability to detect chemical and biological disease agents, to analyze and upload lab results during a public health food emergency and test for a broad range of infectious agents.
• Surge Management/ Acute and Primary Care – the timeliness of patient movement from emergency department triage to facility admission, the ability to reduce or eliminate medical surge bottlenecks, and the capacity to handle admitted patients.
The 2013 Index also reveals areas in greatest need of development.
• Community Planning and Engagement/ Management of Volunteers During Emergencies – the ability to pre-register volunteer health professionals, and to coordinate the identification, recruitment, registration, credential verification, training and engagement of healthcare, medical and support staff volunteers during a response.
• Community Planning and Engagement/ At-risk Populations – the ability to anticipate disaster management response for special needs populations, to care for children with disabilities during a public health emergency, and to provide behavioral and mental health services to children following emergency events.
The NHSPI™ was developed by a steering committee, chaired by John R. Lumpkin, MD, MPH of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (former IDPH director), and three workgroups comprised of more than 75 experts from public health, emergency management, private sector, nonprofits, government and academia.
“Policymakers, practitioners, researchers, communicators, and others interested in strengthening the health security of states and the nation are invited to explore and utilize the NHSPI™,” said Dr. Lumpkin. “Exploring the Index can deepen understanding of what influences our national health security and what is needed to sustain and advance it.”
To learn more about the NHSPI™ and the 2013 results, visit www.nhspi.org.
The Index highlights several priorities currently being addressed in the IDPH Five Year Strategy 2014-2018. The strategic plan is a roadmap for IDPH to build its capacity to better meet the public health needs of all people and communities in Illinois. The plan focuses on five strategic priorities: partnership development; data quality, utilization and dissemination; reducing health disparities; regulatory improvement; and branding, marketing and communication. The plan also emphasizes creating a culture of measuring performance, quality improvement and customer service, as well as aligning the Department with the State Health Improvement Plan. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf