You can never over-plan for an unexpected disaster. Learn how you can plan to deliver uncompromising care even during natural disasters.
Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, storms, and more can strike at any time. Unfortunately, recent data shows that disaster preparedness in the healthcare industry isn’t scoring as well as many would have hoped.
So how can healthcare address this? What are the real dangers, and how can administrators and clinicians combine modern communication, battery-powered medical computers, and data to protect patients during a disaster?
Disaster Prep Needs Work
The level of disaster preparedness in the United States received a 6.7 out of 10 in 2019, according to the National Health Security Preparedness Index.
The index outlined that the sections that scored the lowest were “Healthcare Delivery” and “Community Planning & Engagement.” Both of which can definitely be improved by more coherent strategies and more versatile medical devices.
Fortunately, there’s actually been a 3% improvement on the NHSP Index from last year. And continued investment in backup technology can only lead to greater scores in the face of any unexpected event.
Power Loss and Battery-Powered Computers
Losing power is one of the most common occurrences in any natural disaster and the United States power grid specifically isn’t in the best condition. The Infrastructure Report Card described it as an “aging and complex patchwork system...” Hardly a ringing endorsement.
And while hospitals are required by law to have backup generators to keep crucial equipment running, those generators are no guarantee.
One of the safest disaster-preparedness solutions for a hospital is the deployment of medical cart computers with their own batteries. Powered carts for thin-client PCs are common, but they often have less than 10 hours of battery life, are slow to charge, and are difficult to lug around.
Modern all-in-one computers, on the other hand, can have lightweight, hot-swappable batteries that last longer. This eliminates most issues of the powered cart, and often at a lower price once the cost of a non-powered cart is factored in.
Hospitals with these types of medical computers would be well-advised to charge duplicates of the most critical devices’ batteries. Not only does this reduce general uptime of the device, it means that during a crisis, the battery life of critical medical computers and devices is effectively doubled.
How Prepared are Hospitals?
A recent ACEP poll found that hospital preparedness, specifically, could be better.
44% of hospitals polled said they had done some form of preparedness evaluation, while 22% said they hadn’t done any evaluations. 8% of hospitals claimed to have no disaster preparedness plans whatsoever.
In addition, a recent study found that healthcare disaster preparedness funding would have to increase by 50% nationwide to facilitate the regulations being placed on hospitals. This means that these disaster relief measures must be done surgically and existing funds must be spent as efficiently as possible.
Community Engagement with Telehealth
Of course, hospitals don’t just deal with disasters inside the facility.
During disasters, people are often trapped in their homes and unable to reach medical services. And while a teledoc service isn’t going to be the solution to true medical emergencies, having a pipeline to the nearest hospital can mean a lot for patients stuck in horrible situations.
First responders with rugged medical tablets can administer first aid, access patient records, and even forward critical medical info to the ER while en route. Standing water is often an issue in disasters, which is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. The antimicrobial nature of a medical grade tablet provides first responders with another line of defense against the spread of infection.
Once critical care has been administered, hospitals can also conduct continued care through digital visits as well as long-distance therapy sessions for those suffering mental trauma.
Expecting the Unexpected
As any hospital administrator knows, there’s only so much funding to go around, and so many ways one can expect the unexpected. This is why it’s important that hospitals and other facilities take care of their most critical systems first.
To learn more about the battery-powered medical computers that can help make this happen, talk to a Cybernet representative today.