The Current Disaster Planning Problem.
In Boston, an Ebola scare closes a hospital. In New Orleans, freak weather events and a failing infrastructure leave residents hungry, injured or dead.
These real events crippled the health care systems of major cities in America, and yet, no one anticipated them. When they happened, no one had the well-rehearsed plan necessary to properly deal with the consequences.
Across the world, hospitals are built to withstand many possible disaster scenarios and are resilient to local hazards. As a result, Governments and agencies have become complacent about the need to practice evacuating patients. Even when they have thought the unthinkable, the logistics and danger of serious injury or fatalities to patients have made practicing such events cost prohibitive.
It seems impossible to re-create and rehearse catastrophic evacuation events, without endangering patients. Yet, without rehearsing evacuation, how can a responsible agency understand how to move people, safely?
How to Evacuate a Hospital without Moving a Single Patient.
The Technology That Can Help Hospitals Prepare for the Worst.
Using computer-aided simulations, it is possible to create scenarios and rehearse actions, and allow users to understand how an evacuation of a hospital impacts its patients, minute to minute; without medical or financial risk.
A computer simulation gives hospital leaders the ability to test a plan repeatedly, determine what decisions are needed, and see how each choice will affect its patients. By making and running successive iterations of a plan, users can learn the nuances of each procedure and dramatically increase their decision-making process.
The Hospital and all its patients, caregivers, and decision makers can be brought together and events played out, as if they were real. These virtual reality exercises create a way to understand how crises materialize, and how to contain them when they happen.
Recognizing the value of this technology, an American state hospital association sought to improve its member hospitals’ abilities to effectively respond to a catastrophe. To improve a hospitals’ ability to thoroughly and efficiently plan evacuations in response to disasters and their consequential effects, including power cuts and road congestion.
This virtual reality space simulates the real-time effects of a catastrophic event on a hospital. Giving users a virtual walk-through of the consequences of closing a medical facility—during a time of crisis—without having to move a single bed or patient.
How Computer-Aided Simulations Can Save Time, Money, and Lives.
Computer-aided simulation scenarios give hospitals a safe environment to test the viability of their systems. To simulate real hospital data, previous research findings, and field data, and enable stakeholders to rehearse their evacuation plans again and again.
Through this game-like environment, a hospital’s patients, caregivers, and decision makers are brought together and events played out, as if real. This decision space creates a safe and affordable way to understand how crises manifest themselves, and how to contain them when they happen.
The simulation effectively emulates the adaptive capacities of the hospital facility and facilitates the training of the hospital incident command team.
The training teaches them how to optimize these resilience capacities to achieve the desired evacuation rate.
During each simulation, disasters that can’t be practiced in the real world become survivable—and cost-effective—learning experiences. And best of all, they allow participants to see the consequences of their actions.
These virtual scenarios give hospitals, health care departments, and agencies that care for us all the power to be better prepared, better organized and better able to save lives. This technology helps you prepare for the worst and the details above clearly show you how to evacuate a hospital the best way possible—without moving a single patient.
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