How to Mitigate Hospital Operational Disruptions

Hospital operational disruptions can take many different formats - from IT, utility, and supply chain disruptions, to natural and human-caused disruptions such as severe weather events and active assailants. Each type of operational disruption is different and requires a different response.

Yet, in many cases, the response efforts for different types of operational disruption involve the same stakeholders. For example, IT teams will not only be involved in mitigating the consequences of an IT disruption, but also an HVAC outage (because of server cooling), a physical security breach (because of HIPAA compliance), and physical damage to premises when it affects IT hardware.

However, it is not only the case individual teams will be involved in mitigating the consequences of different types of disruption. Teams from one department may have to collaborate with teams from another depending on the nature of the disruption. For example, IT teams will collaborate with engineering teams to respond to a HVAC outage, and security teams to respond to a physical breach.

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How Response Efforts Can Go Wrong

While the approach of assigning mitigation responsibilities to individuals or teams may work well for small-scale disruptions in normal circumstances, there are plenty of ways in which response efforts can go wrong at the start of more serious events. For example, due to the stress of an event, stakeholders may panic, become confused, or forget which response protocol is relevant to the nature of the event.

In circumstances when an individual is unable to respond effectively, this can negatively affect a whole team's response. It may also be the case the individual plays a pivotal role in a multi-team response (i.e., communications), in which scenario the response efforts of multiple teams could be affected – delaying a response to the event, negatively impacting the effectiveness of the response, and potentially exacerbating the consequences.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of response efforts going wrong is increased by inexperienced individuals filling the roles of those with mitigation responsibilities who are sick or self-quarantining. This issue can be aggravated by the non-availability of other stakeholders, response protocols having recently changed to support social distancing measures, or disruptions occurring while the hospital is experiencing other disruptions – for example, a surge in patients.

Related Blog: How Staffing Models in Healthcare Have Changed due to the  COVID-19 Crisis

How to Best Address These Issues

The best way to prevent response efforts going wrong is to implement a tactical incident collaboration platform such as Rave Collaborate that can immediately notify stakeholders of unfolding events, establish clear responsibilities, prioritize tasks, provide event-specific direction for individual, team, and multi-team responses, and record stakeholder responses.

With information available at their fingertips, stakeholders who panic, become confused, or forget which protocol is relevant, can quickly recover to be part of an effective response. Similarly, inexperienced individuals will find the preconfigured prioritization of tasks help them overcome any lack of training; while system administrators will be alerted to any delays in the response effort and can re-assign responsibilities as necessary.

Rave Collaborate can be used to mitigate the consequences of any type of hospital operational disruption – whether it is a short event such as an active assailant, or a developing event such as a patient surge. The platform integrates with multiple communication and IoT solutions to enhance situational awareness and provides granular reports for after-action reviews to either confirm the effectiveness of existing response protocols or identify areas in which they can be improved.

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Other Uses of Rave Collaborate

Rave Collaborate can be used for far more than just coordinating responses to operational disruptions. The platform helps healthcare organizations stay on top of regularly testing health and safety mechanisms (i.e., fire alarms), emergency preparedness compliance tracking (i.e., tabletop exercises), and – particularly important in the current environment – daily COVID-19 mitigation activities such as health checks and cleaning protocols.

To find out more about how your healthcare organization can take advantage of Rave Collaborate's capabilities to mitigate the consequences of hospital operational disruptions and streamline the management of operational requirements, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team of safety experts will be happy to organize a demo of Rave Collaborate in action and answer any questions you have about integrating the platform with other operational solutions.

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Andrea Lebron
Andrea Lebron

Andrea is Rave's Director of Digital Marketing, a master brainstormer and avid coffee drinker. Andrea joined Rave in August 2017, after 10 years of proposal and corporate marketing at an environmental engineering firm. You'll find her working with her amazing team in writing and producing blogs like this one, improving your journey to and through our website, and serving you up the best email content. When she's not in front of a keyboard, she's chasing after her three daughters or indulging in her husband's latest recipe. Andrea has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing/Management from Northeastern University and an MBA from Curry College.

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