Hospital Incident Command System

Prior to the terrorist actions on 9/11, there was no universal structure for coordinating the response to incidents and emergencies among first responders, healthcare organizations and government agencies. In 2003, the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 (HSPD-5) became law introducing the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a template for government, private sector, and non-government organizations to work together during incidents and emergencies. NIMS guidance was used to create the Incident Command System (ICS) for first responders. ICS is essentially an organizational chart with assigned roles for responsibilities during when law enforcement, fire and other personnel are responding to an incident or emergency. Each ICS role has assigned tasks to be accomplished, the goal being that all persons assuming the various roles complete their assigned tasks.

A version of ICS for healthcare called the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) was developed providing a flexible framework and chain of command for response activities for hospitals. Like ICS, HICS can be viewed as an organizational chart with roles designated and tasks pre-planned for each role. Hospitals, in preparing for their response to incidents and emergencies, designate specific individuals for each role. HICS is a flexible framework facilitating efficiency, communications, coordination and control during an emergency response. HICS is intended to be used by all hospitals, regardless of size or patient care capabilities and should be used for emergency planning and response efforts for all hazards. HICS is designed to provide a predictable chain of command, accountability of position and team function, and common terminology for interagency communication.

ReadyOp is an innovative approach to interoperable communications based on NIMS guidance, on the HICS format and on lessons learned in the field with actual first responders and hospitals. Collabria LLC developed ReadyOp as a tool for supporting the planning, response, communication and documentation of personnel, assets and activities during both training and actual events. While ReadyOp offers many efficiencies and economies during regular daily operations of a hospital, it was uniquely designed as a powerful tool for assisting hospital personnel during exercises and actual events.

HICS Organizational Structure

ReadyOp provides a complete HICS organizational chart with the assigned tasks for each role already identified. Key personnel can be named in advance for their specific roles and can study the ReadyOp website for reviewing their assigned tasks. During an exercise or actual event, these persons can access the ReadyOp website for their agency to obtain a list of the tasks and to report online as they accomplish each duty. Additionally, they can quickly find the names of others involved in the response activities and to communicate via the multiple ways ReadyOp offers (voice, email, text, radio, etc.)

HICS Org Chart

HICS Organizational Chart


ReadyOp offers a secure roster for hospitals to list their key persons and their contact information. The roster also allows contact information for persons outside the hospital to be included along with their contact information. This facilitates fast and efficient contact with those persons.


ReadyOp Roster View

Tasks and Task Reporting

Operational response in enhanced and more efficient with ReadyOp’s task reporting. Users can double click on any box in the HICS organizational chart and a pop-up box will appear showing the tasks assigned to that role. Users can easily update and report completion of each task as accomplished, thereby providing immediate feedback and update to the other members of the organization.


HICS Task Reporting


ReadyOp was designed to facilitate immediate communication between individuals and groups. With ReadyOp, approved users can communicate to a single individual or groups via phone, email, text, alerts, conference calls, video and radio. Encrypted voice, text and video between members is also available, providing HIPAA-compliant communications when needed.

Comm Box

HICS Organizational Chart with Communications Box Pop-up

File Manager

ReadyOp includes a secure file manager which all approved persons can access for forms, reports, SITREPs and other information. This common storage location facilitates fast and efficient access and reporting during events.

Logging and Recall

ReadyOp automatically logs and saves all events recorded in ReadyOp with a date and time stamp including phone calls, text messages, emails, event logs, status changes and task updates and completions. Recall is fast and efficient with key word search, date and time, persons and actions.

Collabria’s ReadyOp provides the tools to plan and train for incident response and to effectively operate organizations day to day as well as in disaster response, mitigation and recovery.