The Key Elements of a Successful Emergency Management Plan

How to plan and organize an emergency plan?

An emergency management plan is implemented to take care of victims of outbreaks, serious accidents or terrorist attacks. It sets out procedures which must be followed to quickly send patients to the relevant hospital department, identify which doctors need to be called in and organise resources effectively. But all of these processes require a software solution which can manage communication and analyse which assets are available to maximise effectiveness.

To cope with a possible massive influx of patients, healthcare organisations have to devise a way of treating them as quickly as possible. This is called an emergency management plan.

 Dealing with outbreaks, serious accidents or terrorist attacks

Under articles L3131-7 and R3131-4 of the public health code, establishments are required to have emergency management plans to make sure they are able to mobilise “every available means in case of an influx of patients or victims or to handle exceptional healthcare situations”. These plans help to manage outbreaks, exceptionally serious accidents or terrorist attacks. For instance, the emergency management plan activated in Paris after the events of November 13th 2015 was extremely effective and mobilised a number of healthcare professionals who were not on duty at the time.

Identifying which departments are prioritised in order to cope with a huge influx of patients

Firstly, a crisis centre should be established to cooridnate emergency processes across the general, medical and paramedical management of every healthcare organisation. The next but essential steo is to determine which departments are involved in the plan – these are usually the emergency units – but also intensive care, internal medicine and surgery, as well as technical-medical departments such as operating rooms, medical imaging or laboratories. Each of these departments will contain various types of medical equipment which are essential to the emergency management plan. These need to be accessible at any time in a specific location.

Defining a specific emergency route for transporting victims quickly

Making sure emergency patients are circulated within the relevant healthcare organisations and departments is also a major criteria for success. For example, a transport route to the appropriate departments must be available from outside the hospital. This passageway must be both large enough to accommodate emergency bedridden patients and not be busy by other patients or visitors to allow for victims to be transported quickly. These emergency routes for victims often go through healthcare organisations’ underground levels if they have them in place.

Even if this process mobilises some hospital staff, it must not prevent routine activities, therefore territorial coordination needs to be implemented to ensure the human and technical resources to treat an exceptional number of patients are available.

Finally, a successful emergency management plan is dependent on identifying which professionals will take care of the first victims, which staff members are on duty and which are on call, and having a specific communication tool to call in other healthcare professionals.

A software solution to use the correct warning channels and organise resources effectively

Software solutions can be set up to create scenarios based on what type of emergency arises, identify what groups of professionals need mobilising and use the right channels and media to alert them and get them operational quickly. There’s no question that the most effective solution must use a staff directory synchronous with the facility’s HR software to be automatically updated with workers’ skills and contact details. This tool has to be both flexible and elaborate and provide the crisis cell with scenarios to call in the right people depending on the nature of the alert. It must also include analytical features to monitor their on-site presence in real time.

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