A nurse call, a fire, an intruder – these are just a few of the emergencies that can occur in a health care facility. All such threats must be assessed as part of a crisis or emergency preparedness plan. Each facility also must define its alerts and the associated alerting and response protocols, with state and federal regulations taken into consideration. In other words, you have to make sure the right information goes to the right people on the right devices so the right actions can be taken to protect life safety, depending on each possible scenario identified in the risk assessment.
But when an emergency occurs, confusion and panic often follow and so do communication breakdowns, delayed responses and costly mistakes. The first minutes of an emergency are critical in determining outcomes. So if it’s possible to improve how quickly and accurately information reaches responders, including management and employees as well as outside emergency services, wouldn’t it make sense to do so? The technology to automatically detect threats and initiate the appropriate responses in real time without panic or error does exist.
And although an alarm indicates that something’s wrong, it isn’t specific. Sure, a fire alarm will go off when smoke is detected, but it won’t tell you where the fire is or where the nearest exits are located so you can determine the safest evacuation route. In fact, most alarm systems use a generic nomenclature. But again, the technology exists to indicate that an alarm the wing or floor and room number – any details that will improve response times and overall care. Alarms are bad because specificity matters.
Read more about the right tools for emergency response in my latest column for Executive Insight.