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Conversations about Optimizing Hospital Operations

Successful Collaboration Under Pressure: What Healthcare Can Learn from Emergency Management

Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma and Maria; a 7.1 earthquake in Mexico City; and wildfires from Montana to Southern California – September 2017 has been marked by this series natural disasters, but also by amazing stories of survival, heroic acts, and resilience.  Readiness and preparedness activities were tested. Disaster plans were stretched beyond imagination. And human spirits were pushed farther than ever thought possible.

The lessons learned from these types of situations translate to healthcare.

Demand for healthcare access around the globe continues to climb. Nearly 37 million in-patient admissions occur each year in the United States while the number of hospitals continues to shrink. The average age of practicing nurses is rising, while the number of primary care clinicians continues to drop. Medication shortages are becoming common, while antibiotic resistant infections continue to grow. Not to mention the fact that gun violence, terrorism, sepsis, influenza, cardiac and respiratory disease place continuous pressure on existing healthcare systems.

In both scenarios, the communication and coordination of people, supplies and essential resources is life-saving. That’s why innovative healthcare systems are embracing emergency management concepts and applying them to daily operations.

“It’s really about making sure that all the necessary folks are in the room that need to handle a situation,” -Alachua County commissioner Ken Cornell  (Emergency Management).

Assembly of the right people―together, with essential technology and intelligence―makes it possible to reach clinical, operational and financial goals. Bottlenecks are proactively identified and mitigated. Supplies and medications are better managed. Talented clinicians are staffed when and where most needed―reducing suffering and promoting healing. And finally, costs can be reduced for both patients and healthcare systems when the right patients receive treatment within the right venue of care.

Many of our clients were affected in some way during these recent extreme events. They were simultaneously under pressure to conduct responding, evacuating, receiving, and recovering activities. We heard inspiring stories about how you used your everyday operations centers to react in coordinated and purposeful ways. You shared how lives were saved, staff protected, and care delivery continued under some extremely challenging conditions.

In the end―whether it’s an emergency situation or daily operations―healthcare is about people. Patients, clinicians, families, friends, communities, and societies working collaboratively on the delivery of high-quality care. Having the right people, together―that makes all the difference.

As the Vice President of Care Model Solutions, Dr. Scott Newton is responsible for leading, designing and cultivating key methodologies and partnerships to help clients drive transformational change. With more than 30 years of experience in healthcare—working as an EMT, a nurse, an educator and a patient flow command center leader—he is also a trusted advisor and thought leader.

Categories: Author: Scott Newton, Command Center, Disaster Preparedness, Healthcare Operations Management