Healthcare emergencies are not confined by a fixed schedule, scale, and geography. It is also challenging to identify the probability and precisely forecast healthcare crises. Such situations are usually disastrous when hospitals are off-guard, inattentive, or less prepared.
However, previous records and current level of preparedness can surely tell whether the healthcare system is better equipped for the upcoming ones.
At this point, it is also essential to untangle what is a healthcare emergency. It is the situation where the healthcare system and medics encounter potentially life-threatening situations concerning patients.
Healthcare emergencies can range in scale and intensity. They also have varying causes, including natural calamities and human-induced accidents. As such, attending to an acute asthma case is a localized and small-scale emergency. Catering to a widespread infection or pandemic is a severe and large-scale emergency.
Irrespective of the causes and nature, eliminating emergencies from the medical arena is nearly impossible. Hence, adopting preparation strategies is essential. Carefully considering factors like healthcare capacity, workforce, equipment, and collaboration can minimize risks.
The following sections discuss a few of the prerequisites to minimize risks during healthcare emergencies.
1. Educate and prepare healthcare staff
Undeniably, the healthcare staff is vital to cater to ordinary, forthcoming, and unanticipated circumstances. Hence, hospitals are adept at managing and utilizing their medical team to manage emergencies efficiently.
Similarly, having qualified and well-equipped healthcare administrators can ensure effective management of the entire hospital staff. That’s why hospitals encourage, fund, and facilitate their existing administrative staff to pursue advanced management degrees like a Master of Health Administration (MHA) to acquire necessary skills.
As a result, professionals can refine their academic aptitude via flexible programs like an mha online degree and carry on their routine responsibilities simultaneously. The MHA degree helps candidates analyze data and informatics, ensure healthcare compliance, and manage risks effectively.
Similarly, they explore technology-based solutions and design robust services to alleviate the consequences of healthcare emergencies.
In addition, emergencies not only exhaust medical staff physically but challenge their emotional and psychological well-being too. Hence, academically equipped administrators are adept at looking after them and enhancing their readiness in unpredictable and demanding situations.
These administrators can empower their medical staff with the necessary skills and training. Likewise, they can also ensure that the staff’s psychic, emotional, and physical health remains intact.
2. Execute emergency preparedness drills
One of the certainties regarding healthcare emergencies is that they are uncertain. As such, a healthcare setup can receive a fatal vehicle accident case at any time. The condition of a patient in the home care can deteriorate without informing the medical staff.
A terrorist attack can threaten countless lives without a potential clue. Predicting an earthquake, the collapse of a multistory building and injuries to several inhabitants are equally unexpected.
A nearby hospital cannot alleviate the damage if it is not prepared to handle unexpected and unmanageable cases. Thus devising a resilient emergency handling framework and performing specific drills are practical approaches to enhance preparedness.
The exercise not only prepares the hospital staff about required steps but strengthens their psychophysiological temperament during emergencies.
Such drills can also enable the staff to identify and highlight potential gaps and hindrances to robust emergency response. As such, hospitals like John Hopkins prepared their medical professionals to handle an Ebola virus emergency by emulating the situation.
As a result, their staff was better prepared to eliminate unnecessary steps and proceed with necessary procedures without potential risks.
3. Involve innovative technologies
In present times, technology’s assistance is inevitably fundamental to improve and augment operations while reducing threats. Utilizing innovative tools and methods can enhance information concerning unpredictable circumstances.
As such, sophisticated software and testing equipment enabled researchers to observe the nature of the Covid-19 virus instantly. Scholars and medics around the world untangled the viral genome into readable and understandable mathematical code.
As a result, the public acquired necessary information concerning the contagious virus and healthcare complications. Similarly, record-breaking development of several vaccines also became possible.
In addition, advanced digital tools can save medics’ time and effort for other crucial and demanding activities. As such, surveillance systems like radio frequency identification can track and monitor patient inflow within the facility.
Such systems can also locate needed specialists to deal with complex cases and reduce emergency consequences. It is also possible to unify and integrate multiple departments and laboratories using a digital dashboard, which stores and displays updated hospital records.
Today’s technology is even creating vital organs using 3D printers and biomaterial to handle transplantation crises. The printed organs can assist regeneration of impaired cells and tissues. They also have the potential to create an entire artificial organ through gradual adaptation. Thus efficient and innovative tools can transform the human response to healthcare emergencies.
4. Strengthen multidimensional coordination
An emergency does not necessarily hamper and challenge operations of the healthcare system. Other sectors of society also suffer from sudden shocks and consequences. Similarly, fighting massive and diverse healthcare crises is not possible without the assistance of other agencies.
Thus it is crucial to expand coordination with other sectors and seek their assistance whenever the situation demands. Involving governmental, nongovernmental, regional, and global partnerships augments preparations to handle and mitigate crises.
For instance, law enforcement authorities can pave ways for the medical staff to access and reach distant locations quickly and safely. Working in parallel with the law enforcement personnel during natural and anthropogenic calamities can enhance readiness.
Similarly, healthcare settings usually run out of essential medical supplies, such as life support and patient monitoring equipment during emergencies. Hence, maintaining close coordination with concerned suppliers and ensuring instant access to required devices are crucial prerequisites of crises response.
In addition, instant warning services of a disaster management department, such as weather and fire, can significantly improve medics’ access and assistance to the affected patients.
Managing a healthcare emergency is undoubtedly a daunting endeavor. Containing crises and their consequences depends on how well each healthcare segment responds and caters to affected patients.
In addition, effective management of healthcare emergencies requires a multi-layered, coordinated, and refined approach to minimize the damage. Hence, it is crucial to structure and execute a holistic response.