4 things Hurricane Harvey taught providers about disaster preparedness

Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeastern Texas and Louisiana in a way few other storms have. Rather than hitting the region in one short burst, the storm left momentarily before returning. This unique set of circumstances has taught providers some important lessons about disaster preparedness, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Listed below are four lessons providers can learn from Hurricane Harvey.

1. Use existing resources creatively to tackle unforeseen challenges. All hospitals have plans for disaster relief, but providers should keep their minds open to using resources that aren't included in their plans. For example, the administration of Baytown, Texas repurposed industrial dump trucks to go out with paramedics and retrieve patients in flooded areas in the aftermath of Harvey.

2. Don't close smaller medical facilities unless absolutely necessary. Community members rely not only on hospitals but also pharmacies, dialysis centers and physician offices to stay healthy, and closing these ancillary centers can force patients to make unnecessary trips to already overburdened emergency rooms.

3. Schedule staff wisely in order to avoid burnout. An all-hands-on-deck mentality can overwhelm staff that has not been given breaks, which can lead to a lower quality of care.

4. Establish trusted sources of information so you are not beholden to rumors or news reports, and instead receive information from an official source and can disseminate information about your facility's status in a clear way.

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