Doctors Community Hospital

Hospital Increases Preparedness with CHHS-led Trainings and Exercises


CHHS was hired to provide Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) training to the staff at Doctors Community, and then evaluate the staff’s application of that training during a tabletop exercise. HICS is a specialty derivative of the Incident Command System (ICS) which brings the structured response of the latter system into the health care realm. HICS is the predominant and accepted best practice for emergency preparedness and response in hospitals, and various funding and accreditations may be tied to a hospital’s staff being trained in it.


CHHS staffers Sean Kates and Trudy Henson held two separate HICS trainings, each lasting approximately three hours and being delivered to approximately 30 staff members. Each training walked the staff members through the various functions of HICS, the terminology of the system, and what the staff members’ expected roles might be in the event of various emergencies.

The trainings included a question and answer period where specific scenarios and general theories were discussed and explained. This session became valuable later, when the rough edges of the HICS system were tested in the tabletop.

The tabletop exercise presented an anthrax scenario which necessitated the quick response of the entire hospital, and the closing of at least one wing. Staff members practiced their use of HICS terminology and developed a better understanding of what their role might be in an emergency situation. They also developed a better understanding of where they might fit in with the larger hospital priorities and authority structure.

Sean and Trudy completed an after action report for the tabletop, and instructed the hospital on several areas where improvements could be made. With continued training and exercises, the hospital should be better prepared to deal with incidents ranging from small accidents to large-scale disasters.

Doctors Community Hospital is a private, not-for-profit hospitallocated in Lanham, MD. Doctors Community Hospital currently operates 200 medical/surgical beds, admits 12,000 patients annually, treats more than 55,000 Emergency Center patients and employs 1,300 individuals. The medical staff is comprised of more than 600 physicians. The hospital offers a broad range of inpatient and outpatient services, a number of specialty and subspecialty services, and a full range of ancillary and support services.

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