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Indiana Federation of Ambulatory Surgical Centers

News

IFASC Fall Conference — Pandemic After Action Report

posted: December 4, 2020

IFASC was pleased to host an After Action Report Review session on October 23, 2020. This virtual meeting gave members a chance to discuss their pandemic response and hear from colleagues about their experiences.

Prior to the meeting, IFASC worked with Vantage Point Consulting to develop a survey covering emergency response actions that was sent to all Indiana ASCs. Vantage Point compiled the responses of forty-four ASCs throughout the state from March 2020 through August 2020 to evaluate the effectiveness of incident management implementation, internal and external communication, and staff safety and health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASCs were able to successfully identify strengths and weaknesses within their response plans while highlighting the actions taken to best serve their patients and local communities.

The highlighted ASC strengths include but were not limited to the following:

  • Many centers “stood up” their incident command structure, which comprised a core group of a few people that collaborated together to make decisions. Early on, centers had to develop their own specific response with little guidance.
  • Organizing and implementing internal screening processes. Centers developed a process to screen patients still in their car while others set up booths at entry locations to mitigate staff exposure.
  • Communication was identified as a critical component of the pandemic. Many centers were successful when they identified that multiple methods of communication were needed to inform patients and staff. Morning huddles were utilized to provide situational awareness to staff and leaders. Many centers participated in scheduled calls within their counties to stay up-to-date locally.
  • Social media was used on various levels. Centers used Facebook and Twitter to push information out. Websites were updated to assist with sharing information.
  • Conservation methods were utilized along with mask reprocessing and many donations of PPE and supplies. The majority of centers were closed and they collaborated with hospitals or others who may have needed the PPE.

The areas for improvement for future response include but are not limited to the following:

  • Many centers reported that their Emergency Operations Plan or other plans did not include an Emergency Closure and/or a Pandemic Response Plan.
  • Many centers provided incident management virtually and had others working from home during the pandemic (non-clinical support staff), increasing the risk of cyber events and breaches of medical information.
  • Centers that have not participated in local health department calls need get involved to maintain local situational awareness.
  • Global shortage of PPE and supplies made it difficult to order additional and required PPE. Centers that remained open attempted to contact other vendors, but there was lack of availability across all vendors. Surgical centers did not have a cache or supply of PPE or supplies for a prolonged event. Centers maintained just-in-time levels with regular deliveries from vendors.

As we navigate through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the IFASC After Action Report provides a platform for collaborative emergency response and communication to support and solidify ASCs’ capabilities.