How Can Hospitals Improve Crisis Management and Recovery?

By By Dan Hounsell
March 2, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins its second year, many healthcare facilities are using the occasion to review the events of the last year in an effort to learn and improve future actions when a crisis strikes.

For example, more than a dozen emergency medicine physicians from New York City hospitals reflected on their response to last spring's COVID-19 surge and identified many opportunities to improve crisis planning, according to Becker’s Healthcare Review. In October 2020, Johns Hopkins convened 15 intensive care unit directors from New York City hospitals to discuss how they implemented crisis standards of care last spring. Johns Hopkins recently hosted a follow-up meeting with 13 emergency physicians to share more observations. Among them are these:

• None of the hospitals represented at the meeting had a crisis plan that was ready to be implemented when the pandemic hit. Emergency physicians said they were also excluded from boardroom discussions about crisis standards of care, which they said had adverse effects for their emergency departments.

• Emergency department staff was often redeployed to other areas of the hospital, even though emergency departments were sometimes overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. The redeployments occurred because overall emergency department volume was much lower than normal due to a dip in usage among non-COVID-19 patients. 

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