HHS issues guide for using call centers in emergencies

first_imgNov 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a guide to help communities retool their health-related call centers into systems for meeting the needs of the public in homes or shelters during emergencies such as a pandemic or bioterrorist attack.Published by the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the 224-page guide is aimed at boosting the capabilities of poison-control centers, nurse advice lines, drug information centers, and health agency hotlines. It focuses on four main scenarios: anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, plague, and food contamination.”Community call centers have long been a credible source that people can turn to for health information,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, in an Oct 26 press release from the agency. “Leveraging these existing resources will allow clinics, outpatient departments, and emergency departments to devote their attention to caring for those in most need of help.”The report was developed for the AHRQ by Denver Health, a member of the agency’s Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks (ACTION) project, the press release said. A national advisory panel of experts in emergency call center services, public health, preparedness planning, and other fields helped draft the guidance.Few resources exist to guide the development of emergency call centers, the report says. However, the authors were able to draw from published reports on the experiences of officials in Toronto and Taiwan during the SARS epidemic.Guidance in the report assumes that the community infrastructure would remain intact so that call centers would be operable. Though the document doesn’t address absenteeism among call-center workers, it covers features, such as interactive response systems, that might reduce the number of employees needed to staff the centers.For communities that have little healthcare call-center capacity, the authors offer suggestions on how to enlist the help of local corporate call-center systems.The report focuses on six response capabilities:Health information to augment risk communications and alleviate the burden on the healthcare system; call centers could direct callers toward medication- or vaccine-dispensing locations and answer frequently asked questionsDisease or injury surveillance to help health officials identify emerging health threatsTriage or decision support to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and reduce costsQuarantine and isolation support to those self-treating or receiving medical care in their homesOutpatient drug information and adverse-event reportingMental health assistance and referralAuthors of the report also developed a tool set to enable public health officials to assess the call-center demand they would face during a public health crisis and what resources they would need to meet it. The set includes checklists and Microsoft Excel worksheets.See also:Oct 26 AHRQ press releasehttp://archive.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2007/callctrpr.htmAHRQ report on adapting call centers for crisis supporthttp://archive.ahrq.gov/prep/callcenters/last_img read more

Victories for Ballybacon, Holycross and Moycarkey in weekend action

first_imgBrendan Cummins’ 6 scores from goal has helped Ballybacon Grange reach their first ever Junior A Munster Final.They overcame Cork champs St Catherine’s of Cork in the Semi Final in Ardfinnan last evening.===== Meanwhile Holycross Ballycahill were crowned Mid U21 A champions last evening with a comprehensive victory over Drom InchIn doing so they bridged a 21 year gap at that age-group.A flurry of goals saw off Drom as the game finished Holycross Ballycahill: 4-15(27) Drom Inch: 0-14(14)They’ll now move on to the county semi-final, and selector with Holycross U21s and Tipp senior star Cathal Barrett told Tipp FM Sport they won’t look past the next game…In the U21 B Mid Final Moycarkey Borris overcame JK Brackens 0-16 points to – 0-13.Emly Traceys and Cappawhite Gaels have booked their places in the West U21 B Hurling final following semi final wins last evening.Emly Treacys overcame Knockavilla Kickhams 2-17 to 1-9 and it finished Eire Og Annacarty Donohill: 1-10(13) Cappawhite Gaels: 0-19(19) in the other game.In the South division Anner Gaels have booked their place in the South U21B Hurling final following a good victory over Carrick Davins in the first of the semi finals.It finished: Davins 1-8 (11) Anner Gaels 3-17 (26)Then in the North Division, the U21A hurling round 3 game finished up – Toomevara 2-17 Kilruane MacDonaghs 0-13last_img read more