The time for healthcare organizations to prepare for natural disasters is now.

That’s one of several key messages CannonDesign’s Rich Kahn shares in his article, “Recover, Rethink Thrive: Responding in the Wake of Natural Disasters,” for Medical Construction & Design (MC&D). Kahn’s piece looks specifically at key steps the Manhattan VA Medical Center took before, during and after Hurricane Sandy – the deadliest and most destructive storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season – and applies them as strategies other health organizations can implement.

Below are brief excerpts from Rich’s piece in MC&D.

On Having a Plan

Having a plan and acting quickly ensured the staff and patients were safe during the Hurricane and the VA could begin recovery efforts as soon as possible. Other healthcare organizations should follow suit and develop plans now to be prepared for any future catastrophic weather events.

On Sharing Recovery Responsibilities

By spreading out responsibilities for the recovery effort, healthcare organizations can ensure different processes are underway at the same time and maximize efficiency. This strategic effort can save months in the recovery period and allow facilities to begin caring for patients again as soon as possible.

On Rehearsal of Concept drills

The Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) drill is an important tool military commanders use to successfully plan and execute highly complex efforts. For the military, ROC is an opportunity to brainstorm every possible outcome and/or scenario and then define necessary roles and streamlined processes for success. With the Manhattan VAMC effort, this meant establishing regular ROC meetings with all the designers, stakeholders, supporting staff, union representatives, clinical staff and representatives from the VA in Washington. The ROC meetings are opportunities to identify and mitigate risks, perform assessment of best practices and recommend efficiency methods.”

The full article digs deeper into these topics and also looks at how recovery efforts can also be times for critical investments and the power of pull planning. Read it here.