One critical aspect of disaster planning is regard for competent logistics management and the effective provision of necessary items when they are needed most. Health care logistics management in disasters is comparable to an American football game or European rugby match.
While literature provides great examples of disaster responses and preparedness efforts, little information is being documented concerning health care logistics management. Literature queries yielded mostly information concerning clinical processes related to subject areas such as pandemics, weapons of mass destruction, records management, communicable diseases management, nursing practices, and so forth.
Many professionals tend to see emergency planning as a product of other efforts and not as a process in and of itself.
Planning for logistics management involvement in a disaster provides health care leaders with an ability to identify, dispatch, mobilize, and demobilize support teams and track, record, and manage critical material resources needed during a crisis event before one occurs. While health care operations can be abruptly halted due to the non-availability of supply, there is a limit to what any singular organization can achieve without interagency support during emergencies; planning for this type of continuity in operations must happen beforehand.
Emergency preparedness involves a focus on key aspects of preservation, capabilities, and community-wide health care resources to provide a continuance of care for patients, staff, and to serve the public (5). Efficiency in emergency supply chain management means allocating adequate resources to achieve the greatest aggregate benefit for as many people as possible (12). Upon the recognition of an imminent need or during a public health emergency, medications (and other medical supply) could be shipped quickly to pharmacies, public health agencies, physician offices, home health organizations, and other ancillary care agencies.
An ever-present aspect of emergency planning should include the idea that regardless how well one believes an organization has prepared, unexpected problems will still emerge. Logistics management is a specialized genre of expertise within the health care industry and is largely contributive to the success or failure of health care organizations. Many types of organizations are being asked to step outside of previous emergency preparedness paradigms and adjust the concepts within which resources are planned for and supplied. Instead, as is related by Hale and Moberg (1), logistics managers must rely almost exclusively on existing models and information doled out by federal emergency management agencies; most of which is not relevant (directly) to health care processes. This article is designed to aid health care professionals understand the necessary implications of including logistics planning in disaster management and crisis mitigation. While there are specific core functions that a health care supply chain must serve, little effort or attention seems to be afforded disaster mitigation or emergency response measures. A wide spectrum of others could include emergency medical technicians, firefighters, first responders, police officers, or a wide array of victims of incidents.


Such evaluation is focusing efforts toward evacuation, transportation, health, medicine, pollution, emergency medical care, triage, asset staging, chemical, biological defense practices, and community-wide response to populations. Barriers to emergency preparedness include lack in clarity regarding responsibilities related to preparedness and resource allocation, criticality of elements in planning and response processes, effectiveness of collaborative coordination and synchronization, and knowledge of methods for obtaining assistance from inter-agency enablers external to an affected organization (9). Reliance upon national level governments should not always be the automatic fall-back for health care organizations faced with crises; albeit, this seems to be the evolving trend in massive emergency scenarios.
The public, in a mass crisis, could be instructed to go to their normal pharmacy, doctor's office, or to a public health agency to acquire the emergency medical supplies. Having a tenable emergency management plan available prior to events beginning to unfold is critical for health care organizations. Health care at the cross roads: Strategies for creating and sustaining community-wide emergency preparedness systems. Logistics management requires extensive collaboration among multiple stakeholders—internal and external to an organization.
Strategic planners are being continually reminded that health care organizations serve a principal role in emergency preparedness planning and must be prepared to fulfill the associated possibilities without notification. This article contributes to the closure of an obvious gap in professional and academic literature related to health care logistics management and provides timely insight into a potential problem. Using the Joint Commission's guidance as a foundation for understanding logistics involvement in disaster planning, there are six elements that health care strategists should consider in developing emergency response plans. Discussions related to resource management often posit emphasis directed upon human capital and money, but do not always focus on materiel readiness within health care organizations (10). Government response, in national-level emergencies, should only be required to flow emergency medications, medical supply, and equipment into existing logistics networks if health care entities are not available or cannot be reached (9). Health care logistics professionals own the onus for communicating supply chain concerns in all aspects of emergency planning within and among respective organizations.
By asking such questions, concepts related to emergency preparedness can be re-visited prompting the beginning of theoretical development. VanVactor is a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and an active duty medical service corps logistics officer in the United States Army. The views expressed in this work are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. The concern is that not enough attention is being paid to repeated lessons being observed in disasters and emergency events.


During crises, supply chain management functions are not always monitored effectively and are sometimes discounted entirely during disaster planning. Collaboratively developing an emergency management plan contributes to an integrated, comprehensively focused plan that ensures adequate levels of focus on scope of services being provided and the population being served.
Planning and periodic adjustments should be cyclic throughout multiple phases of emergency preparedness and should involve both clinical and non-clinical expertise in the solidification of a tenable plan (see Fig. In planning for an emergency response situation, logisticians should seek to minimize response time while maximizing resource capability in concert with other health care strategic planners and clinical staffs.
Logistical difficulties that may arise during emergencies can relate directly to a lack in predictability for operations, limited knowledge concerning length or location of an event, the speed at which an event can occur along with the duration and intensity, potential recurrence, and mitigation of future events (7).
The concern is that not enough attention is being paid to repeated lessons being observed in subsequent disasters and emergency events.
He is a Certified Materials and Resource Professional and Fellow of the Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management (AHRMM). This article contributes to the closure of an obvious gap in professional and academic literature related to disaster health care logistics management and provides timely insight into a potential problem for leaders industry-wide. ProQuest, EBSCOHost, etc.) using words such as hospital resiliency, hospitals and disaster management, emergency management, continuity of operations planning, disaster planning, and disaster recovery (see Table 1). For example, Hurricane Katrina has been cited as one of the deadliest and most costly natural disasters in US history (7); many lessons have been learned and have served as the catalyst for much resurgence in planning for and sustaining communities during wide spread emergencies.
Once events have culminated, mitigation includes the integration of lessons observed into revisions of disaster management documents. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. An integral element in effective process management is collaborative communications among multiple stakeholders. Strategic planners are being continually reminded that health care organizations serve a principal role in emergency preparedness planning and must be prepared to fulfill the associated possibilities without notification; part of that preparation involves effective supply chain management. Such may be questions that are applicable to the management of health care logistics during crises.



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