DISASTER PLAN UPDATES AFTER COVID-19
Getting Back to Normal:
Now that Covid-19's spread has slowed (with a high price tag) it may now be time to review and update your current disaster plans. As this worldwide pandemic ensued the entire countries healthcare systems responded in concert. National and regional systems as well as smaller private and non-profit healthcare groups have all had one common goal, fighting the transmission of the disease. As a result of this disease both strengths and weaknesses have been exposed regarding our ability to address hazards as well as our overall preparedness. Supply chain, equipment provider and vendor issues were discovered. As a result, temporary staffing, PPE, and clinical supply requirements were enacted. Beds, ventilators and drugs were all in short supply and healthcare facilities modified existing space to serve as isolation, emergency and patient assessment check points. At the same time patient visitation was cancelled and visitors not allowed at clinics, hospitals, or medical centers unless very special circumstances existed. Healthcare workers were exposed at high rates and in conjunction with long work hours, changing guidelines and early undetected exposure resulted in front-line workers becoming Covid-19 patients. The way in which we provide treatment to patient may have changed forever. The federal government has committed to reimbursement for many Covid-19 related tests and treatments. In addition, health insurance companies and service providers have made commitments regarding clinical charges and payment resources. Drug manufacturers have also worked to discount the price of medications used to treat Covid-19 patients. Finally, laboratories expedited the manufacture test kits, analytical equipment and turnaround time for sample analysis. CDC, FDA and the Joint Commission have provided new guidance tools, relaxed protocols and suspended surveys while helping to expedite new testing and treatments. Process Improvement:
The sheer number of both temporary and new guidelines directed at healthcare has forever changed traditional delivery models. Now may be an opportune time to review both clinical and ancillary departments to understand how personnel, equipment and supply processes can be improved upon to better the patient care experience. As we begin to take our foot off the gas pedal and begin to slow emergency operations, we should take time to review the lessons learned to help influence and reshape the new normal. Root Cause Analysis Approach:
Analyzing our response to the Covid-19 pandemic, evaluating what worked and more importantly what didn't is fundamental to process improvement. While we have an understanding of the root cause of Covid-19, the key to improving the patient care experience is the identification of hazards, correlative actions and results and at a core level lessons learned. No matter how small or insignificant something may appear it all contributes to the analysis and subsequent improvements regarding all aspects of healthcare.
Updating Plans, Policies and Procedures: Healthcare providers are required to maintain plans both clinical and ancillary processes. In addition to clinical care plans non-clinical support services manage plans for departments and programs including Emergency Management, Safety and Security, Life Safety, Supply Chain, Staffing, etc. Third party consultants play a key role in helping to define the needs of the healthcare provider and offering solutions with the end result being an excellent patient care experience. US Restoration, LLC can help you evaluate what occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic and create a road map which will ensure the best processes are in place and tested when and if we are faced with another large-scale public health and safety event. We can assist in areas of disaster planning.