How Electronic Flipcharts Helped Aultman Hospital Improve Its Emergency Preparedness

Employees now have 24-7 access to emergency response and crisis preparedness protocols via their mobile devices.

Ensuring patient safety during emergency situations tops the priority list of hospitals nationwide, and having a comprehensive emergency response plan in place for these situations is a must per mandates from organizations such as the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In 2014, with the continued growth of the organization and facilities that covered an area of 750 square miles, Aultman Hospital took a closer look at its current process for communication and coordination of emergency response protocols throughout the health system. At the time, our system was primarily paper-based, and while it had served the organization well for many years, we identified a need for improvement.

During a crisis, for example, the ability for staff to effectively locate three-ring binders, blueprints and other key information was a challenge, as was the ability to accurately communicate this information to key personnel and emergency responders. A move to a fully integrated, technology-driven solution was on the horizon.

Solution Had to Address Facilities with Varied Requirements
As we were conducting our analysis, it became evident that because our facilities were serving communities with different levels of emergency planning and resources, it was imperative for the safety of our patients, staff and visitors that each facility’s response plan accounted for those differences. Additionally, shortly into the project, we identified that staff responsibilities during a disaster were different based on role and staff hierarchy, such as front line staff compared to managers or executives. We also needed to devise a way to offer our protocols with different levels of access or permissions.

Through the use of staff focus groups, input from local police, fire and emergency management agencies and extensive benchmarking, our list of needs continued to grow. When the analysis was complete, to achieve a successful outcome and meet the hospital’s needs, our disaster management team determined that the solution we would choose would need to be technology driven; instantly accessible from mobile devices, with or without internet capability; easily updatable; specific to each facility; and include a user-intuitive interface with permissions-based access.

We quickly realized the needs we had would require an extensive amount of time, resources and expertise. We aren’t in the business of building software,  we’re in the business of safely caring for patients, so it was clear that we were going to need help from an outside source to accomplish our goals.

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