An epidemic, whether due to pandemic flu or an act of bioterrorism will place unexpected demands on a practice as one’s patients look to their physicians for care, immunizations, and preventive treatment. At the same time, it is likely that the staff will be reduced due to illness making delivering care more difficult. Continuation or resumption of ones practice after other types of disasters may also be difficult because of loss of electricity, communication interruptions, computer/record damage or loss, or damage to ones office building.
A number of actions will better prepare the practice for a disaster. These include assuring that all staff are fully immunized, cross training of staff to prepare for absences, develop an all hazards practice continuity plan, and consider cross coverage plans and agreements with other practices. Also make plans for and educate staff in an office triage system, handling hazardous waste, maintaining supplies, and stock an “emergency medical bag”.
More specific ideas and recommendations can be found in the sources listed below:
(List of other helpful web sites)
www.mgma.com/practice-resources/topics-overview-emergency-preparedness-resource-center – MGMA website’s information on practice preparedness and continuation.
www.sba.gov/content/disaster-preparedness – The Small Business Administrations recommendation for business preparedness.
www.fema.gov – The Federal Emergency Management site has links to information on protecting your business and continuity of operations.
www.aafp.org/afp/2007/0601/p1679 – Article in American Family Physician on disaster preparedness for your practice.
www.aafp.org/about/make-a-difference/disasters.html – links on preparing your practice, a checklist, and information on pandemic influenza.