The effects of Hurricane Sandy, a superstorm that made landfall with the U.S. on Sunday night, are far spread. Over 7.4 million homes and businesses were left without power from the East Coast through the Midwest and at least 16 people were killed across seven states.
With technology becoming further integrated into the daily operations of medical facilities, it's crucial for healthcare organizations to work with hospital consultants to ensure that all staff are properly trained for emergency situations, such as Hurricane Sandy. When power is lost, for example, it's important that patients still receive quality care and that their personal health records can be found.
Stephen Stewart, CIO at Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, told FierceHealth IT how his facility would "invent scenarios" to ensure that they were properly prepared. In an area prone to tornadoes, he felt it was especially important.
"We first set up a process, and tested it, that we can recover the electronic health record system in four hours at a remote site for data that is no more than six hours old," Stewart told the news source. "Our thought is, even if we cannot treat patients, we have to have the data to provide information on transfers."
Hospitals that found themselves in Sandy's wake, though, were put to the test on Monday. The Hoboken University Medical Center, for example, evacuated patients before the hurricane even arrived. The New Jersey-based facility said they feared the possibility that surges from Sandy could breach Hoboken's seawall, causing several feet of flooding, according to ABC News.
Medical facilities located throughout the nation should invest in healthcare strategic planning, so an emergency plan can be made that is specific to their needs. Mother Nature is especially unpredictable, and as such, it's necessary to be prepared.