For Healthcare Providers, Disaster Recovery is a Matter of Life or Death

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Prolonged power outages can be costly to any business. But when healthcare providers fail to recover quickly from disaster, it literally can cost lives.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities rely on data centers and electronic health records that must be available 24/7, while physicians and other healthcare clinicians use powered medical equipment – MRI scanners, X-rays, operating tables, syringe pumps, oxygen tanks, etc. – to diagnose and examine patients.

Should an unexpected disaster knock out a hospital’s power for any length of time, these machines stop working and the data center becomes inaccessible, preventing potentially critical sharing of patient medical data. Thus it’s imperative that healthcare facilities devise and implement effective recovery strategies in the event of disasters that knock out electrical power service and equipment.

Since nobody can predict when disaster will strike, healthcare decision makers must create and implement contingency plans for continued operations following a natural disaster or other emergency that threatens the power supply. This is best done with the help of an experienced disaster recovery services provider.

A qualified recovery services vendor can work with healthcare providers to develop a detailed plan for business continuity following disasters that lead to power outages. The recovery services vendor should:

  • Ensure that the healthcare facility’s electrical equipment is properly maintained
  • Identify which equipment is critical to the electrical infrastructure
  • Know which equipment should be replaced and which can be reconditioned
  • Be familiar with current natural disaster recovery codes and standards
  • Understand the impact of water damage on electrical equipment
  • Create a safety plan that incorporates emergency procedures
  • Develop an electrical emergency action plan

An electrical emergency action plan enables healthcare providers to understand their electrical assets, critical operational infrastructure, and risks, as well as their short- and long-term power restoration execution plans. An electrical emergency action plan can shorten time to restore power, reduce uncertainty and panic following a disaster, and increase understanding of available services for emergencies and equipment replacement market availability.

The selection criterion for a recovery services partner for a healthcare facility is particularly important. When building out your specification, consider those that have specific healthcare and emergency services experience. Services they offer should include the right mix of capabilities and skill sets that will ensure protection of your data center and medical equipment regardless of the scope of disaster. Typical services and skills include:

  • Project management
  • Technicians trained to meet qualifications as defined by OSHA and NFPA to work on any brand of electrical equipment
  • A national or global network of service locations (depending on your need) and 24-hour access to parts to ensure a rapid response
  • Reconditioning of existing damaged equipment
  • Equipment replacement (when reconditioning is not possible)
  • Availability of a temporary generator connection

Disaster can strike at any time, without warning. To ensure they can continue to deliver critical medical treatment to patients and share information with other clinicians, it is essential that healthcare providers create a comprehensive continuity and recovery plan in partnership with an experienced disaster recovery services provider. To learn about disaster avoidance in your facility click here 

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