Preparing Your Practice for a Disaster
Developing a disaster plan for your office is a must in today's world. If a natural disaster happened and your office was shut down and wiped out your records, would you know how to piece your office back together? Probably not! Have you ever given this a thought? No doubt you would be at a loss on how to proceed. A disaster recovery plan can serve as the blueprint for the recovery of your facility. Putting a disaster plan together will help your employees and department heads to better understand the day-to-day operations in the event of a disaster.
First, discuss where all your records are. This would include patient records, employee information, financial documents and equipment you have in your office. Take into consideration that a list of all this information should be kept in a secure location. Keep in mind that in the event of a disaster, there will be information that cannot be obtained and functions of the practice that cannot be done:
- patient charts and other pertinent information
- patient and employee contact information
- loss of functions from electronic devices, (i.e., phone, fax, laptops, tablets, etc.
- the length of time that a practice can function before depleting finances
- the anticipation of theft.
- securing your facility, setting alarms, etc.
- deliveries can not and will not be able to be delivered.
It is in the best interest of the practice to keep a record of the inventory of the office to ensure that everything can be accounted for and/or replaced. As you develop your plan include your staff as well. Communication with employees will not only ensure complete understanding of the operations of the office but will also help with keeping the employees confident in the needs of the office in the event of a disaster. Remember to continually train your employees on how to evacuate the practice. Remind employees where egress routes are, fire extinguishers are kept and how to lead patients to a designated meeting location outside the practice. If your practice is located near other practices, it might be a good idea to coordinate with the other offices. They will be very helpful in helping patients, employees, or just providing any needed help.
Remember to review your disaster plan and implement any changes. Doing this will be the difference between life or death for your practice. Hopefully, you will never have to use this plan, but having a plan in place will ensure your future in the event that a disaster becomes a reality.