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More on Hospital Disaster Preparedness

July 18th, 2006

[thanks to the folks at LiveProcess who graciously responded to my questions via email. Disaster Preparedness is one of those "get-to-later" issues that increasingly needs more focused attention from hospital executives)

1. We all saw the devastation that Katrina caused and how overwhelmed the local hospitals were. A year later, are hospitals more equipped to handle a major disaster?

Yes and no.

On one hand Katrina, and earlier events like Rita, Anthrax and 9/11 have certainly raised awareness about the need for better disaster preparation and as a result hospitals are making serious efforts to stock up on extra supplies and equipment.

On the other hand, things like disaster planning, staff training and education, and coordinated responses between facilities still has a long way to go. That’s why our focus is on these areas. It’s easy enough to stockpile supplies and equipment, but you have to make sure that everyone knows what to do in an actual event so that those stockpiles are useful.

(2) Usually the disaster preparedness manuals are sitting on some shelf collecting dust. How can hospital executives raise awareness about disaster preparedness without being all about gloom and doom? How can hospital executives "make the internal sale" to spend more resources on disaster preparedness?

A few years ago there was a sort of “oh that will never happen to me” attitude which made disaster planning something no one really worried about. But now that we’ve seen everything from terror attacks to hurricanes and wildfires, that attitude has changed. A hospital executives can now say “maybe we ought take some steps to get ourselves prepared, just in case” without sounding doom-and-gloomy. They don’t really have to “sell” the idea of disaster preparedness anymore because everyone knows that an ounce of prevention in this case is far better than a pound of the cure.

(3) What are LiveProcess' distinct strengths in helping hospitals deal with this issue of disaster preparedness?

First and foremost, LiveProcess makes disaster planning and preparedness incredibly simple. In the previous question mention was made of the dusty disaster preparedness manual sitting on the shelf. Nobody likes those things. It’s hard to find the right information in them, they’re tedious to update, and they’re always buried under a dozen other dusty manuals.

LiveProcess is web-based, so it’s anywhere there’s an Internet connection and it integrates every aspect of emergency planning and preparedness within a facility – hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA), Incident Command System, drills, training, policies and documents – everything. Nothing is ever more than a couple clicks away and you’ve always got a bird’s eye view of exactly how prepared your facility is.

LiveProcess’ other big strengths are its standardized preparedness methods, its interoperable communications and its tools for sharing information. All facilities using LiveProcess can share just about any aspect of their disaster preparedness program so hospitals can exchange policies and plans, compare their HVA’s and readiness states, collaborate on drills, and work in concert during actual events. We know from events like Katrina that the ability for facilities to communicate and work together in a standard way and as a unit is the difference between managing a situation and all out chaos.

(For more info, email them at


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