This is the second blog post in our #NHITweek series. You can check out the first one here.
As hurricane season comes to an end and the East Coast begins to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Florence, we reflect on how hospitals and health systems can prepare for natural disasters moving forward.
When Florence devastated North and South Carolina a few weeks back, 40+ of the 130 hospitals in North Carolina were in the path of the storm. People in hospitals – especially the elderly – are put at risk during an evacuation, and hospitals along the coast are doing everything they can to offset the damage done by these storms. Some hospitals, like Tidelands Health in South Carolina, prepare all year round for this exact scenario, making sure that their buildings are up for the challenge and that they have proper supplies and generators needed for an outage.
But What About Healthcare Data?
Beyond the physical necessities of disaster recovery in healthcare (water, shelter, food) hospitals must also consider the technical details of a disaster and make sure that patient medical data is always secure, and patient care is never compromised by any technical downtime.
This can be accomplished through a Disaster Recovery Plan, or DRP, which is a “documented, structured approach with instructions for responding to unplanned incidents.” Hospital IT staff have to consider how clinical workflows will continue running in the event of a disaster, and the importance of disaster preparedness grows as hospitals continue to move data to the cloud.
How Can IT Staff Plan for Disasters?
Healthcare organizations should not continue to push back on creating these plans because of the time, money, or resources it will cost them. Decision makers must plan for a potential disaster and consider the ways it could affect their facility. TechTarget outlined a few suggested key steps for effective disaster recovery planning.
Does your facility have a disaster recovery plan?