Designing a model for organizing volunteer personnel in disasters and emergencies in Tehran’s hospitals: an integrated approach of Fuzzy Delphi and interpretative structure modeling (ISM)

Abstract

Organization of volunteer personnel and proper management of these enormous and valuable human resources to make that most of their scientific, experiential, physical, and expertise power is of paramount importance, so in disasters and emergencies, lack of proper planning for organizing volunteers in the health sector is one of the most critical issues in the Iranian health system. The primary objective of this study is designing a model for the organization of volunteer people in disasters and emergencies in Tehran’s hospitals, utilizing an integrated approach of Fuzzy Delphi and interpretative structure modeling. The present study is mixed research. This study was conducted during 2017–2018 using the Fuzzy Delphi method to identify and rank the indices. A total of 26 disaster management specialists and experts in the hospitals participated in two rounds in this designed Delphi study. After extracting the primary components through systematic studies and interviews with the experts, two rounds were conducted in the presence of the experts. A structural-interpretive modeling approach was used to interpret the data. The Fuzzy Delphi results after two rounds yielded 11 indices in the form of two criteria. Then, the internal relationships of the criteria were investigated using structural-interpretive modeling, according to which the criteria were classified into three levels. Based on the results of the research, individual characteristics, social characteristics, appropriate type of employment, information strategies in initial enrollment, participatory recruitment methods, information recording methods, type of natural disasters, hospital–volunteers communication system, pre-incident preparation measures of the volunteers, intra-incident and post-incident preparation measures were determined in two indices of selection and preparation using Fuzzy Delphi technique. The results indicated that most of the measures related to the organization of volunteer personnel are interrelated, and preparation indicators of pre-, during, and post-incidents and the individuals’ characteristics are all among the necessary operational measures which can be done by operational managers at the basic levels of organizations. This means that methods and strategies can provide a higher-level context. Ultimately, as expected, this means that other studied indicators influence participatory recruitment methods and the communication system between the hospital and the volunteers. In this regard, the researchers, managers, and policymakers can use the results of the research in policymaking in the field of health care. Organization of volunteer personnel can be of great help to the hospitals in the field of health care.

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Acknowledgements

This study was conducted in collaboration with Urmia University of Medical Sciences and Tehran Universities. We also appreciate the cooperation and support of all our colleagues at Urmia University of Medical Sciences and Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran and Iran, Red Crescent administrators, and the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and all hospital heads and managers.

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FJ collected the data and drafted the paper and KA helped with the drafting and analysis of the data and DKZ provided guidance on interpreting the results and discussion. JA participated in the study design. IM guided the study of drafting the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version.

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Correspondence to Davoud Khorasani-Zavareh or Iraj Mohebbi.

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Jannat, F., Khorasani-Zavareh, D., Mir-Aghazadeh-Attari, J. et al. Designing a model for organizing volunteer personnel in disasters and emergencies in Tehran’s hospitals: an integrated approach of Fuzzy Delphi and interpretative structure modeling (ISM). Nat Hazards (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-020-04055-z

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Keywords

  • Organizing
  • Volunteer personnel
  • Disasters and emergencies
  • Fuzzy Delphi
  • ISM