With all the stress on healthcare over the past few years, coalitions have become more important than ever.
Every facility had resource and funding needs, and coalitions had to find the right approach to distributing those resources to best serve the communities of member organizations.
While the Covid-19 pandemic is an ongoing crisis, we have many lessons to learn from its first two and a half years. Coalitions should turn their eye to those past two years and spot opportunities for improvement in both crisis and daily scenarios. Let’s tackle the foundation of a coalition with this mindset and find what ways coalitions can strengthen operations.
Communication is an essential investment for coalitions.
Coalitions have to coordinate with their member hospitals and facilities, provide credentialing and important information to volunteers during crises, ensure members are compliant with grant and funding stipulations, and handle many other critical functions. Fragmented communication only makes this long list of tasks more difficult, and phone calls, emails, and paper processes all contribute to the frustration.
Disasters add another layer for healthcare coalitions. Updating resources, populations in need of assistance, and location statuses creates a lot of information for members to digest.
Coalitions should turn to digital platforms to handle this large volume of communications. One of digitization’s immediate benefits is the permanence of information. Messages persist and remain always available, letting anyone see and return to information when they need it.
Digitized communications also has a long reach. In a few quick actions, a coalition can update healthcare professionals, volunteers, and hospital staff and request their confirmation of their receipt. Disseminating information widely through a platform also ensures many eyes see something, removing a reliance on any one person to distribute or receive information.
The Benefit of Organization
Communications is only one branch of responsibilities coalitions shoulder.
Healthcare coalitions juggle many moving parts, including asset and personnel management for multiple hospitals; directing relevant stakeholders on the distribution of resources during daily operations and emergencies; managing all training and credentialing for employees and volunteers; reunification of families.
One slip can create a logistical nightmare, and pen-and-paper, disparate email chains, and physical documents only increase the chances of these bad scenarios happening. Information can get siloed or personnel can miss critical steps, making staying up to date or checking the right boxes a challenge.
Digital platforms are a simple solution for organizing all of these operations. Storing all relevant documents in one place streamlines and strengthens file management. Workflows ensure personnel follow and complete each essential step in any process. Dashboards ensure all stakeholders, regardless of the position or location, can access information critical to their duties.
Awareness and Improvement through After-action Reports
Any organization should be conscious of its weaknesses in preparedness. Finding holes and patching them ensure incidents have the smallest impact possible.
The standard is not different for coalitions. Following any crisis or exercises, a coalition should engage in after-action reporting to find opportunities for improvement. When performing this operation, a coalition should ensure it hears all of its members’ voices. What went well for one member may have been trouble for another. Getting these perspectives offers chances for a coalition to grow its preparedness by reevaluating the distribution of personnel and resources during an incident.
Relying on incidents and other emergencies for these growth opportunities is risky. Exercises are a well-established practice for preparedness professionals across industries, and a habit that has a welcome home in coalitions.
The most cited barrier to regular exercises is the effort that they require. Not only does the set-up eat time, it requires its stakeholders from across an organization to spend their time participating.
The hold-ups for exercises melt away when a digital platform comes into the picture. Templates enable catered exercises and come close to replicating a true incident; digital platforms, like Veoci, store those templates and allow you to launch them at any time. Digital platforms also put the exercise response right in front of participants, ensuring they participate from anywhere at any time.
Next Steps in Preparedness
The plate of responsibilities for healthcare coalitions seems to only grow the more you look at it. Digitization helps cut down those portions, however, as it allows these organizations to make operations between all of their member facilities more efficient. The best way to respond to an incident is through preparedness, and coalitions should take the next step in building their programs stronger: digitization.