COVID 19 tested Healthcare organizations and their professionals severely, and we have all learned our lessons. In this article, we are going to discuss how can healthcare organizations use these lessons to mitigate risk factors. What can you do to prepare your team for this crisis? – How to prepare a better Emergency plan (EM Plan) ?
A high-level overview below will help to manage this crisis in much better way
1. Gathering patient safety data : In addition to gathering staffing, supplies, communication, technology, utilities, and clinical activities, it is necessary to collect patient safety data. Where can you find data needed to mitigate the risks? Here are a few options –
• Any information reported on unresolved issues, patient complaints, med-mal claims can go into the patient safety data reporting system.
• You need to train your staff to enter patient safety details effectively. They need to know how having a patient safety reporting system can benefit in forming a successful EM plan.
2. Recording data electronically : You can take the help of external experts to gather this data or you can devise a plan to record the data electronically, with minimum human intervention. EHR (Electronic Healthcare Record) systems have analytics and surveillance options that can also provide such data.
3. Protocols and guidelines: Change in healthcare needs calls for change in protocol and guidelines to adjust to the situation. Normally there is enough time to evaluate the healthcare needs but we see that the process had to be super-fast during the pandemic. This may have affected quality and safety concerns. What can be done to prevent quality and safety concerns in times of crisis?
You can monitor and manage EHR and keep a record of cross-disciplinary staff involved in handling crisis situations. Identifying things that did not go well this time can help you identify vulnerabilities and thus optimize performance. Also, developing new protocols for an EHR system can help you adapt to the next crisis. Knowing episodic and permanent controls for operations can help greatly in making changes in an EHR system.
4. Clinical Decision Support (“CDS”) tools: CDS tools are an important part of the EHR system and they can improve patient care and healthcare organization performance greatly. CDS is useful in providing timely information to healthcare professionals required to make an informed decision. To deal with a crisis situation, you can create temporary versions of the EHR clinical decision support system that focus on filling any gaps and minimizing threats. Using CDS to automate quality and safety data into your EHR is a great use of technology at times when staff availability is limited.
5. Digital tools: What digital tools came in handy for you during COVID?
Your organization needed the software and hardware required for video conferencing and you may have made the decisions about choices hurriedly. Now you have the time to analyze the options that you have. This also gives you an opportunity to consider using other technologies like virtual health.
6. Agile Workflows and Staffing: Let us see how the Agile workflow and staffing model has helped during the pandemic. The healthcare professionals had to deal with the situation with a faster, lighter, and more engaged mindset. They had to gather high-functioning teams, also retain employees during furlough. They also needed to make necessary changes in the workflows and decide whether to go back to pre-pandemic workflow or make further changes to deal with evolving challenges.
For this type of crisis, healthcare organizations can identify their strengths and apply their learnings to redesign staffing models using Agile technology. Whether it’s a natural disaster, economic crisis, a crisis of community resources, or a mass-casualty event, organizations can handle it. Do not wait for the next crisis to overwhelm you. Buy out this opportune time now to strengthen your organization.
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