Examining the Role Healthcare Executives Play in Emergency Preparedness

Posted on Feb 21, 2017

Every level of your healthcare organization must be heavily invested in emergency planning and preparedness, but perhaps none more so than those at the top: executive management is vital to both the successful design and, perhaps if necessary, execution of such a plan. This can extend from seemingly remote areas like risk management  to infrastructural evacuation plans. Executives must see themselves as integral parts of an overarching concept that strives to make the safest possible environment for both their employees and customers. To become a high-functioning executive in the field of emergency preparedness requires a plan, practice, communication, and, maybe most importantly, knowledge.Risk Management | Healthcare Executives & Emergency Preparedness</

The American College of Healthcare Executives is an organization that has thought deeply on the topic of emergencies at healthcare facilities. From most professional points of view, a few vitally important concepts emerge again and again when considering healthcare emergency preparedness at the executive level:

  • Revise and Review: One of the biggest truths of any emergency plan, and an area where a single person in a management position can have a great influence, is that plans change constantly. Revision and revitalization should always be the order of the day. The threats, and your organization's responses, are simply different today than they were even 10 years ago. They'll be different once again 10 years in the future.
  • Identify Scenarios: In a changing world, some things do remain constant. With a wide spectrum of possible infrastructural setups for a healthcare organization, the variety of localized emergencies can vary greatly. It falls to the executive branch to single out the most pressing of scenarios and prepare for them accordingly. Drill, test, and react in accord with the National Incident Management System's standardized concepts.
  • Know your Resources: Along with understanding the scenarios your organization may be put through, the executive needs to fully grasp the resources at his or her disposal. Emergency plans aren't very useful if the tools written into them simply aren't available. Knowing your capabilities and your personnel goes a long way, and it's a subject that a good executive should be able to cover.
  • Continuity: This concept is fairly simple and fits for almost all organizations; ensure that your building has the ability to operate for at least 96 hours, without assistance, in the case of an extreme emergency. Simple as it may sound; the areas that need to be covered to accomplish this with confidence are vast. Everything from emergency communications (going out to either media or simply interagency personnel) to on-hand supplies. 

If this all sounds like a lot, it is. A healthcare organization's emergency plan that covers risk management, cybersecurity, communications, and much more is a large, human engine powered by executives. For more information on the communication tools needed to help your organization, contact us today at 877-624-4999.

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