The occurrence of disasters significantly affects a healthcare organization especially when recovery plans are not put in place. Crucial data could be lost as well as the loss of vital equipment that is relied upon for the operations of the organization. Health facilities regardless of their sizes must ensure that patient’s healthcare is not compromised upon the occurrence of the disaster. Putting in place a comprehensive recovery plan will enhance the restoration of the facilities’ operations immediately after a disaster.
Essential Elements of Disaster Recovery Plan
A good recovery plan has various components. Firstly, the program should have a list of individuals who will aid in the recovery process. The roles of each, as well as a designated area for salvage, should be clearly stated to avoid confusion that arises from role overlap and lack of clear instructions (Giarratano, Harville, de Mendoza, Savage & Parent, 2015). This will not only allow a smooth recovery process but will aid in the prevention of blames concerning responsibilities that were not handled properly. Secondly, the plan emphasizes the presence of an offsite storage location that will act as a rescue center. Back-up servers, equipment, and materials that are essential in the recovery process will need to be kept away from the primary offices. Thirdly, the plan must have data about the organization’s continuity assessment sheet. The information provides the essential components that an organization cannot operate without. Having the list of such items will guide in recovery mission since such items will be salvaged first thus preventing disruptions of the healthcare facility. Lastly, the plan must have a detailed inventory of computers, scanners, phones and other technologies that store information daily. This will be a significant reference data that will be used in making insurance claims for compensation of the loss caused by the disaster (Fitter, Delson, Guillaume, Schaad, Moffett, Poncelet & Gelting, 2017).
Factors Affecting a Disaster Recovery Implementation Plan
A number of factors will influence a recovery plan: Firstly, the size of the disaster will determine the number of personnel to be involved in the recovery process. Also, the size of the area covered will dictate what materials will be first rescued before others depending on their relevance to the organization. Secondly, poor coordination of the rescue mission within the facility would lead to role overlap and concentration in one area while the other facility’s offices will be left unreached leading to a significant loss. Thirdly, inadequate preparedness measures as a result of absences or delayed warning systems will lead to a lack of an appropriate recovery plan. The result is that most crucial facility’s data and equipment will be lost thus affecting the continuity of the organization. Lastly, environmental factors such as massive floods will negatively impact on rescue mission since the secluded rescue centers may be affected by the floods. Alternatively, such factors could hinder recovery personnel from accessing the affected facility leading to property destruction.
Recovery plan encompasses both analog and digital elements. In the designing of the plan, digital components such as Electronic Health Records have their locations identified during the recovery process. Also, the workability of their data backup during the disaster preparedness process is carried out to ensure that the data can be accessed after the disaster. Also, analog materials such as financial record books, patient record registers, and employee performance records are quickly located for timely recovery to avoid loss of critical data of the facility. Also, while carrying out the recovery process, paper volume and file size for analog and digital data respectively are considered. Files with large size as well as a large volume of papers are believed to contain more information essential for the facility’s operation hence are first recovered before the small sized ones.
Digital and analog-based records are affected by a different magnitude during the occurrence of a disaster. Analog data are largely affected due to the absence of a reliable backup. The analog data backup can still be affected by a disaster especially if it touches on a wide area. The same scenario is not experienced with digital data since the possession of data configurations and passwords will allow users to access data in any locality and not necessarily the facility’s offices.
The occurrence of a disaster affects the overall performance of an organization through loss of data or delayed access to the data from the rescued sources. A comprehensive recovery plan aids in preventing the destruction of property through the use of a well-planned rescue mission. A number of factors such as poor data backup, inadequate preparedness, and various environmental factors have a significant impact on the recovery plan.
Giarratano, G., Harville, E. W., de Mendoza, V. B., Savage, J., & Parent, C. M. (2015). Healthy start: Description of a safety net for perinatal support during disaster recovery. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 19(4), 819-827. Doi: 10.1007/s10995-014-1579-8
Fitter, D. L., Delson, D. B., Guillaume, F. D., Schaad, A. W., Moffett, D. B., Poncelet, J. Gelting, R. (2017). Applying a new framework for public health systems recovery following emergencies and disasters: The example of Haiti following a major earthquake and cholera outbreak. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 97(4_Suppl), 4-11. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.16-0862