A practical discussion on the use of ResilienceTec in general practice

Alicia Fletcher, Practice Manager

Queens Beach Medical Centre
41 Murroona St, Bowen, Queensland 4805

Left to right: Alicia Fletcher (QBMC), Emma Pullen (NQPHN)

How large is your practice?
Alicia – Four full time doctors, one RN, two ENs, 3 receptionists and one practice manager

What do you like most about ResilienceTec?
Alicia – I like the fact that it is on-line and printable and in fact you can’t have too many copies in different places. With it being stored in the cloud and me only working in the practice three days each week it enables me to access it anywhere including from home.

I like the way it guides you through all possible scenerios and makes you think about aspects of the practice that you may not necessarily think about. Plus, it is a great place to store key practice documents including contracts.

What problems did having your own emergency response, business continuity plan solve?
Alicia – Everything is there in one place! If you use it to its full capacity we include passwords, order forms and everything is accessible and easy to find.

Most importantly with the plan in place we can and did get back on track after an event as soon as possible.

How easy was it to use?
Alicia – ResilienceTec is really easy to use, very intuitive. I did go through some of the guides in the tool but basically it is just click this and fill in the other. I also liked the modular structure as this made it easy to work through the whole plan and you can move in and out or pick-it up later.

How easy was it to keep updated?
Alicia – Because it is modular you simply review each section and being on-line go in and make the changes when you have the time. I usually make note of changes on my hardcopy/printed version then go and make those changes directly.

What are other benefits to you in using ResilienceTec?
Alicia – Having the hardcopies available to myself and staff members means when things happen we know exactly what to do and following the response at the time what we need to do to ensure we get up and running as soon as we can.

All our service providers are in one place. This includes who they are and all their contact details. This enable the organisation to get up and running sooner. I can ring our service providers from home on my mobile, if I cannot get to the practice and practical things like getting our electrician to do a safety check after we had water pouring out of the light fittings after cyclone Debbie and I did this from home.

Have you had cause to use your emergency and business continuity plan in your practice?
Alicia – Yes, we were badly affected by Cyclone Debbie on 28th March 2017. It was a category four cyclone, very slow moving and a massive storm which hit the coast at Airlie Beach then proceeded to move inland south causing widespread flooding and damage. Our practice was without power for a week, water for two days. At the time you don’t think of everything that you need to do but having gone through the tool and process prior, it was all there. When the storm hit it is an emotional time, you can’t think of everything, some panic can set in, it is high stress, high risk, but if you are prepared you are far more capable of reacting the right way and all staff know what is expected and what to do.   We knew the storm was approaching because of the warnings and we prepared the practice the weekend prior. We used ResilienceTec afterward to help get us back up and running.

In the preparation of our plan we had gone through all the modules and completed them and the tool makes you think about all the options and to prioritise them for our practice. This was step by step. It also helped us because the staff could see the hardcopy version and knew what to do.

I was really proud of our team because we could not operate without power or water but we got up and running as soon as we could. This was because we had a plan, we prioritised getting things back running like our IT systems. You don’t forget things.

Who in your practice was involved in completing the plan?
Alicia – It was primarily me. There are some parts for accreditation, like the pandemic planning section where I went to our practice RN for the quantities of equipment and supplies needed. Our GPs were happy for me to run with it and trusted what I thought. We had some prior policies but nothing was detailed. The tool helped a lot.

Have you communicated that you have your own Emergency and business continuity plan, internally?
Alicia – I have run it past the doctors and they are happy. We are lucky that we have long-term staff. They are aware of the basics. At our practice meetings we discuss the evacuation plan in the tool and staff are aware we have printed/hardcopies of our plan.

What did you identify as the biggest risks to your practice?
Alicia – We do know most of the big risks to our practice but the information and sequence in the tool makes you stop and think.

Tropical Cyclones are obviously the biggest risk to our practice and we can move this to the top priority with the arrow-ups. But things like an intruder made me stop and think and plan for. How would we best address these things?

How has ResilienceTec helped you feel about the risks and preparation?
Alicia – ResilienceTec makes you feel more prepared. You think about things you may not ordinarily think about. For example, a gas or chemical accident is less likely to happen so I can move this lower down the priority. There are other things we have added, so it is flexible.

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