We sought to describe the implementation of the Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HEICS) at National Cheng Kung University Hospital (NCKUH) in Taiwan, ROC during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in early 2003. We administered a 14-question survey via structured interviews to individuals occupying activated HEICS leadership positions at NCKUH to identify the organization, structure, and function of the HEICS units and subunits they led and the job actions they performed from 25 March to 16 June 2003 Thirty-three of 38 persons (87%) occupying 39 of 44 (89%) activated HEICS leadership positions directly participated in the survey. The participants collectively reported: 1) the creation of four new HEICS unit leader positions and corresponding units during the outbreak, including the infection control officer (administrative section) and SARS assessment, isolation, and critical care unit leaders (operations section); 2) the creation of six new HEICS subunits, including functional areas for fever screening, SARS assessment, and resuscitation outside the hospital, and SARS patient care, SARS critical care, and employee isolation inside the hospital; and 3) the performance of new job actions related to infection control by all HEICS unit leaders. HEICS provides a flexible framework that seems to have assisted NCKUH in the organization of its emergency response to the SARS outbreak in Taiwan, ROC.
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