You should always prep your business for an emergency or a disaster. You can’t predict either, but when they do happen, you want to make sure that you a prepared and ready for action. If a natural disaster or a man-made emergency shuts down your office and wipes away all of your records, how will you get your business on track again?
It’s a necessity to plan for future disasters and emergencies so that your business can survive any damage and get back on its feed once it’s all over. And a disaster plan in place is your blueprint for recovery. Just like you crafted a HIPAA compliance plan, you should meet with each department and design a recovery plan. Always review the plan periodically to make any needed updates or changes. When developing a recovery plan, it’s important to keep in mind that you might not be able to do your day-to-day operations. You’ll have to assume that you won’t have access to things like patient charts, medical information and any support or clinical staff.
You should also be thinking about prioritizing and mitigating other difficulties like:
- How to contact employees and patients if lines are down
- How long the practice can go on before all the finances are depleted
- Medical supplies getting restocked
- Your insurance policies, which should be at the top of your list. Know what it covers, doesn’t cover and how much you’ll get if you need to rebuild.
- A new place to set up your practice if needed
Although you’ll have to customize your practice’s response to a disaster, you can apply the following steps to any business setting:
- Getting ready access to numbers, e-mail addresses, cell phones and the like of all staff members.
- Getting contact information for emergency and government agencies
- Creating a phone message that will inform patients of why you’ve shut down and who to call next
- Copies of important documents like patient charts and vital records off site somewhere
- Getting copies of things like grant proposals, real estate records, contracts and other documents that are important for your practice secured at a safe location.
Your disaster plan should also detail how you’ll communicate with vendors about your situation. Also, make sure that you involve your staff in every part of your disaster plan and are aware of the final copy.