6 Ways to Build Muscle Memory for Emergency Management in Healthcare
Original publication date: April 2, 2018. Updated January 10, 2020.
In its recent Market Guide for Crisis/Emergency Management Platforms (C/EMP), Gartner discussed technology for crisis and emergency management across business sectors, making several observations that are relevant for hospitals and healthcare organizations.
As analyst Roberta Witty noted, “a growing number of nongovernment organizations are using C/EMP solutions to help keep them in control of their response to a disruptive event as well as to align with national emergency/incident response management frameworks to avoid federalization.”
From the report, I identified six takeaways that I feel are especially meaningful for healthcare organizations. Specifically, here’s what I recommend you do to help ensure your staff is ready and able to use your emergency management platform in a crisis.
1. Find ways to use your emergency management platform for day-to-day clinical communication, coordination and collaboration
Witty wrote, “Organizations can no longer support separate tools for managing day-to-day operations and managing a crisis. The expense is one factor; however, training the workforce on two different tools is a more important factor. Workers must be able to easily flow from normal to crisis mode without having to move to a different tool — one that they may not be fluent in due to the infrequency of its use. As a result, critical infrastructure organizations are integrating C/EMP solutions into day-to-day operations for a seamless cutover to crisis mode when needed.”
We have found that many functions of a healthcare emergency management platform such as LiveProcess Emergency Manager translate well to everyday clinical and healthcare facility operations, such as physician communications, service alerts, mass notifications and mobilization of resources. Tools for coordinating a disaster response can also be used to mobilize rapid response teams for STEMI, sepsis, Code Blue and other common, urgent hospital communication and coordination needs.
[Learn more about how one hospital adapted LiveProcess Emergency Manager to a growing number of day-to-day functions in the case study Health System Improves Emergency Response and Day-to-Day Workflow with Structured Messaging.]
2. Ensure consistency with an emergency management solution that promotes best practices
According to Gartner, one of the most important functions of a healthcare emergency management platform is supporting consistency: “C/EMP solutions help guide the organization in a consistent response manner to minimize the impact to people’s safety and the damage to the environment and the organization.” Continuity of operations depends on a well-planned, systematic emergency response.”
Our customers have found that using a crisis and emergency management platform that supports standardized best practices facilitates uniform responses across an organization, which drives faster response times and promotes better coordination among responders. A single view of relevant crisis information for shared situational awareness is another way that an emergency management platform can foster consistency in crisis response.
[Learn more about how one hospital used LiveProcess Emergency Manager to provide situational awareness in the case study Into the Storm: Virtual Hospital Command Center for Emergency Management.]
3. Collaborate with emergency response agencies by using flexible communication tools
Emergency preparedness for better collaboration has been a familiar theme to healthcare organizations complying with the CMS emergency preparedness rule.
In Gartner’s report, Witty observed that preparing for large-scale emergencies has become a concern across sectors: “With the growing number, frequency, scope, impact and types of crises that organizations have, more management and oversight of crises is required. Regional and national disasters require enterprise-based C/EMP solutions for the critical infrastructure sectors to interact for status reporting and communicating with one another, as well as with local, regional, tribal, national and international government agencies.”
We believe that a collaborative communication solution with a shared integration framework makes it easier to adjust command hierarchies and roll up information, so organizations can expand their networks as the scope of an emergency spreads.
[Learn more about how a large California county used LiveProcess Emergency Manager to roll up information across 35 healthcare facilities in the case study Emergency Management Agency Prepares Healthcare Coalition for Regional Collaboration.]
4. Learn from emergency preparedness drills and crisis events with tools for post-event analysis
Gartner identified multiple functions for emergency management platforms that pertain specifically to post-emergency evaluation and archiving, including automated documentation of events for submitting to public agencies, records management for all event-related data, and after-action reporting for post-event review.
We’ve found that integrated event logs and templated post-event documentation are among the ways that a crisis and emergency management platform such as ours helps organizations analyze the effectiveness of their emergency preparedness, so they can close gaps in emergency preparedness planning and identify areas for process improvement.
[Learn more about how hospital used LiveProcess Emergency Manager from emergency response to after-action reporting and documentation in the case study Emergency Management for Rural Healthcare: Big needs, small budget.]
5. Prevent interruptions by using a cloud-based solution
Internally managed technology is vulnerable to disruptions. Regional outages during a severe weather emergency can take down a system for days. Cyber attacks such as a ransomware attack, can take a system fully or partially offline for months. Patient care, facility operations, and business operations could be slowed or suspended without secure means of communication.
The report noted that an on-premise data center outage would render an emergency management solution ineffectual exactly when it is most needed. Because of this risk, Gartner recommended choosing a cloud-based emergency management solution.
With healthcare at one of the highest risk levels for cyber attack among industries, hospitals must have a solution they can easily employ in the event of malicious action.
[Learn more about how one hospital used LiveProcess to maintain continuity of care during a healthcare ransomware attack in the case study Communication During a Cyberattack.]
6. Choose one emergency management platform that fits the needs of your entire organization
Finally, the report advised organizations to start by thinking in terms of the entire organization: “Gartner advises organizations to establish an enterprise-wide effort to identify all of their C/EM program needs so that multiple C/EMP solutions do not need to be implemented within one organization.”
Neither the expense nor the inconsistency resulting from multiple C/EM solutions is necessary when a single emergency management platform can address an organization’s operational and emergency management requirements.
LiveProcess Emergency Manager is a proven system for emergency preparedness planning, mass notification and mobilization, real-time coordination and tracking. Hospitals and health systems, ambulatory centers, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care organizations, home health agencies, and public agencies use Emergency Manager to prepare for and respond to disaster events and for everyday disruptions.
- How LiveProcess helps hospitals, health systems, and healthcare coalitions prepare for disasters.
- LiveProcess can help your healthcare organization across all phases of emergency management, including planning, mobilization, coordination & collaboration, and tracking.
- Experience how these hospitals used a crisis and emergency management platform during Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017.
- More blog posts about healthcare emergency management.
- Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) for Healthcare Organizations