Particularly since 2001, the health care industry has witnessed many independent and often competing efforts to address mitigation and preparedness for emergencies. Clinicians, health care administrators, engineers, safety and security personnel, and others have each developed relatively independent efforts to improve emergency response. A broader conceptual approach through the development of a health care emergency management profession should be considered to integrate these various critical initiatives. When based on long-standing emergency management principles and practices, health care emergency management provides standardized, widely accepted management principles, application concepts, and terminology. This approach could also promote health care integration into the larger community emergency response system. The case for a formally defined health care emergency management profession is presented with discussion points outlining the advantages of this approach. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2009;3(Suppl 1):S52–S58)
Dr Macintyre is associate professor of emergency medicine, The George Washington University; Dr Barbera is with the Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management, The George Washington University; and Mr Brewster is with the Department of Veterans Affairs.