Infectious disease is among the leading causes of death in the U.S. Healthcare and public health work rigorously to maintain a strong defense against persistent threats of infectious diseases, like measles, Zika, and Ebola. To keep prepared, NYC Health + Hospitals leveraged a unique partnership between their infection control and emergency management programs.
NYC Health + Hospitals has developed and routinely conducts “Mystery Patient Drills” using the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program framework. During drills, actors arrive at a key entry point presenting with clinical and epidemiological linkages to a selected infectious disease. Staff unaware of the drill are evaluated, for example, on their ability to rapidly identify and isolate a high-risk patient; put in place infection control measures; conduct a preliminary patient assessment; notify appropriate internal and external parties; and provide a positive patient experience.
These drills have helped NYC Health + Hospitals identify and address training gaps, preventing spread of infection to patients, staff, and the community. They have shared an easy-to-adapt version of their “Mystery Patient Drill” toolkit with other hospitals and health systems.