RCHE Publications


Planning for Pandemic Influenza: Lessons from the Experiences of Thirteen Indiana Counties


Significant concerns exist over the ability of the healthcare and public health systems to meet the surge demands that would result from an event such as an influenza pandemic. Current guidance for public health planners is largely based on expert opinion and may lack connection to the problems of street-level public health practice. To identify the problems of local planners and prepare a state-level planning template for increasing health care surge capacity that accounted for these issues,a study was conducted of local pandemic planning efforts in thirteen counties, finding that cognitive biases, coordination problems, institutional structures in the healthcare system, and resource shortfalls are significant barriers to preparing and implementing a surge capacity plan. In addition, local planners identify patient demand management through triage and education efforts as a viable means of ensuring adequate capacity, in contrast to guidance proposing an increased supply of care as a primary tool.


pandemic influenza, hospital surge capacity, emergency planning, public health preparedness, cognitive bases

Date of this Version

January 2008

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