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4 Important Pieces of a Communication Plan for CMS Emergency Preparedness Compliance

An important part of complying with CMS’s emergency preparedness rule is maintaining an up-to-date communication plan. In the healthcare industry, patients are constantly changing status, whether they move to a different level of care within the facility or they leave the care facility altogether. Also, new patients arrive at facilities on a daily basis.

Keeping track of patients across a variety of fields is a big task on a normal day, but coordinating communication during an emergency is something that needs massive advance preparation. It is essential to have a system in place that will provide completely current information for true emergency preparedness.

1. Contact information for all relevant facilities, staff, and patients

During an emergency, coordination must happen between patients, staff, emergency management officials, federal, state, and local officials, and across facilities. In order to do this, all of these different individuals and companies must have up to date contact information.

Contact information must be included in the intake process of a patient, and must be periodically updated to make sure nothing has changed. Current emergency management numbers must also be on file, as well as current facility numbers within the emergency management plan. A system like WatchPoint AtRisk Registry allows ease of access to a wide variety of contacts to update and to enter in new patient contact information.

2. Primary and Alternate Means of Communication

Risk Assessments are done at the beginning of emergency preparedness planning, and they should include the probability of the types of communication that are likely to be out of service during an emergency, as well as which communication methods will likely be usable. What might work at one facility could not work at another and in order to maintain communication, multiple forms, such as radios or pagers, should be available everywhere.

3. A Means of Sharing Patient Information

When sharing patient information, even in an emergency situation, HIPPA laws must be followed. The two most important parts of this section of the plan are to know what type of information is releasable and to know who is authorized to release it.

In the training stage of emergency preparedness, staff should be taught to look for cues to know when sharing patient information is appropriate. This may be sharing information between facilities, but also include letting family members know the status of their loved ones during an emergency.

4. A Means of Sharing Resource Information Across Facilities

An accurate list of resources you have available and the supplies you might need is crucial during an emergency. Knowing precisely how many beds you have available or what kind of medical supplies you have on hand, will be invaluable to emergency management officials as they work to determine how many patients they can transfer to you without overwhelming your facility.

During an emergency, keeping track of what you start to run low on supply-wise is important, so that when you are requesting supplies or supplies are being delivered to you, you are only getting what you need and anything else can be taken to other facilities that may be in need.

Keeping track of patients, staff, and supplies during an emergency situation is a big job. It can be made much easier by having a cloud-based system like WatchPoint AtRisk Registry to give you real time data on all of the above and more.

Get in touch with us today, so that you can get prepared for the next strike of disaster, whatever it may be.

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