Keeping Your Practice Healthy in the Aftermath of a Disaster

Disaster AftermathWithout question, one of the best ways to keep your practice healthy in the aftermath of a disaster is by being prepared. While no one ever really expects a disaster to strike, it is essential that physicians prepare their practices for all manner of unexpected events – ranging from the relatively small, like losing a laptop or thumb drive, to a catastrophic natural disaster. By having a firm plan in place, training your team about proper protocol, and having semi-regular drills to anticipate an emergency, you will find the path to recovery is smoother if a disaster does occur.

First and foremost, the priority of any physician is ensuring the safety of their patients, staff, and office visitors, and communication is key. To ensure that your office is ready for a disaster, it is essential that you perform an analysis that determines your preparedness for any manner of emergencies. Take the time to make a list of the potential disasters, and develop a response plan for each. These policies should be written out and made available to your staff, ensuring everyone knows how you’ll respond, if needed. It’s also important that specific roles (and backup roles) are assigned to the staff so everyone knows their job during a disaster and the team is always ready to deploy. This limits confusion, helps keep everyone safe, and ensures that business-critical materials, like computer hard drives or cash boxes, aren’t left behind.

It is also highly recommended that you make accommodations to ensure that you can safely access your data from a secondary location, in the event that your practice is compromised. Some examples of the information you’ll want to always have readily available include:

  • Updated patient records
  • Accounting records
  • Vendor contact information
  • An updated inventory of your office materials and equipment
  • And other electronically stored data that will benefit your practice

Once a disaster has been resolved, the process of recovery can begin. Assuming you’ve made arrangements to access your electronic data, you can work from just about anywhere. You’ll also want to be sure to have your office phone number auto-forwarded to a message that lets callers know the latest information about your practice.

At the American Board of Physician Specialties, we know how important it is for physicians to be ready to face a disaster head on, and we are pleased to be the only multi-specialty physician certifying board to offer board certification in disaster medicine to qualified physicians through the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABODM). To learn more about disaster medicine and preparing your practice for the unexpected, contact us today.

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