In the first week of September 2018, news of a potentially destructive Category 4 hurricane that was forecast to make landfall on the coast of the Carolinas sent many of the hospitals and medical practices in both states rushing to dust off their disaster recovery and business continuity plans in preparation for it. Evacuation drills were reviewed and many other operating procedures were rehearsed and evaluated. But most of all, health IT systems were being tested and reassessed for their natural disaster recovery readiness. Most healthcare groups focused on a few aspects of their IT to ensure they were prepared for whatever outcome the storm had in store for them.
In any given hurricane season, healthcare organizations in areas that are affected by these natural disasters are no strangers to preparing for power outages, and potential structural damage from flooding, high winds or downed trees. Some of the prep work by their IT departments can include moving IT equipment off the ground or out of the basement to testing system failovers and backups. During Hurricane Florence, many healthcare organizations in the Carolinas quickly came to realize the importance of having a natural disaster recovery plan. Those who didn’t now face significant obstacles to get back to the business of patient care.