Seven Don’ts and One Do for Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Hospitals and Health Systems

July 4, 2018
disaster recovery plan|disaster recovery plan healthcare|disaster recovery plan communication

Mistakes happen. Sometimes no matter how prepared you are, it's easy to err in your disaster recovery plan for communication. While your organization may spend lots of time planning and ensuring it meets emergency preparedness guidelines, when something actually happens, errors can occur. When it’s time to actually execute the plan, that’s when things can fall apart.To help you better assess your disaster recovery plan, we’ve put together of things to avoid. By considering all these factors, your communications plan should work as seamless as possible.

1. Don’t think of disaster recovery as an expense.

Consider it an investment. When an organization thinks of its disaster recovery plan for communicating in the face of an emergency as an expense, it can be the wrong mindset. Investing in a plan means having the right tools should communication and systems be halted by disaster.The truth is you could lose much more than what it costs to make your plan more robust. If you’re hit with a cyber attack like malware or ransomware, the average cost to recover is over $1M in infrastructure and $1.2M in operational damage for small to medium sized organizations. The larger the system, the higher the losses.

2. Don’t cover only the basics.

While you can meet HIPAA and HITECH compliance by planning for the bare minimum for data backup and emergency-mode operations, there are more considerations. How will you communicate and collaborate with colleagues? How will you be able to preserve information that will need to become part of the patient’s electronic health record (EHR)? If you can’t answer these questions, then the basics aren’t enough.

3. Don’t forget about meaningful use and its role in a healthcare disaster recovery plan.

One requirement for emergency preparedness explains that organizations must be able to recover EHR information and provide such records upon request. Should a power outage or cyber attack cripple your network, you must be able to recover and achieve meaningful use obligations.

4. Don’t apply a one-size-fits-all approach to disaster recovery communications.

Your organization is unique and so are your communication needs. Thus, you need a personalized approach to disaster recovery communications. You need a solution that enables communication even in the face of disaster but also meets all compliance and regulatory guidelines.There are few tools to meet this need that do not also require a connection to your network. A secure texting application fulfills both needs while also being convenient and easy-to-use. All that your clinicians need to do is download the app onto their personal smartphone or tablet. The application you choose should have dual encryption and other security measures. This way all communication is secure per the guidelines of HIPAA.

5. Don’t forget that a disaster recovery plan includes more than technology.

disaster recovery plan communication

When you have a comprehensive healthcare disaster program, it includes the people and processes, too. Hardware failures and power outages are the most common incidents, but they aren’t the only things to be concerned about. One of your biggest concerns should be communication. Not just what kind of tools you’ll have available but also the process. These could include updates to policies or tests, both announced and unannounced. These tests are important to being properly prepared for an actual disaster. However, only about 31% of businesses test their disaster recovery plans more than once a year.

6. Don’t depend on word of mouth to communicate with your team.

With broadcast messaging on your secure texting application, you’ll be able to send messages to an entire care team or organization on the status of outages. By updating employees in real-time, everyone is on the same page and can continue providing care. Besides being a great platform for announcements, a group message enables communication to be more comprehensive with the ability for real-time feedback. When people can participate in the conversation, they can bring insight from the field, valuable end-user information, and even identify and escalate issues that may have been missed.

7. Don’t lose valuable EHR information.

For those secure texting applications that offer EHR integration, there is no need to worry about losing information. Any data about the patient’s condition as well as images taken within the app can be easily be back-loaded as soon as your EHR system is online.

Your Disaster Recovery Plan and Secure Texting: What to Do

One of the best tools to address a disaster is a secure texting application. Remember that while there are lots of choices in the industry, you need a platform that can respond in a disaster situation. Choose an application that delivers the functionality you need, while remaining compliant. Disasters may strike at any time, but you can minimize the operational impact with the right planning and tools.

Qliq: The Secure Texting Application for Disaster Recovery

Our secure texting application, Qliq, is designed to perform in everyday scenarios and emergency conditions. You can enjoy two-way, group communications that keep the focus on patient care. Secure texting offers a compliant, streamlined solution that is certainly a “do” for any healthcare organization. Learn more about how Qliq can enhance your healthcare disaster recovery plan.

The Author
Ben Henson

A lifelong communicator, this Tennessee native got his start in broadcast news before branching out into public media, corporate, communications, digital advertising, and integrated marketing. Prior to joining QliqSOFT as the company's first marketing team member, Ben shared his talents with organizations that include the University of Alabama, iHeartMedia, and The Kroger Company.

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