An Honest-to-Goodness Code Alert System – 2012 AHMA entry – Information Set 1 (Draft)

1. Please give some background to the project or program including how it originated. Give details of what clinical improvements were achieved and how the project improved quality of care as a result of these improvements.  MAX 350 WORDS.

The project was triggered by a call from Dr. Carmencita Banatin, Director of Philippines Health Emergency Management Staff on January 8, 2012 to Dr. Reynaldo Joson, asking Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center (OMMC), particularly, its Department of Surgery  (OMSurg), to be on alert because of an intelligence information that a terrorist attack might occur during the Feast of Black Nazarene on January 9, 2012.  About 8 million devotees were expected to join the traditional procession. In response, OMSurg and OMMC activated their respective alert codes.  Although no surge of patients occurred, it was observed that the alert code system was wanting in structure and comprehensiveness to ensure effective alertness or readiness and effective response when the alert code would be elevated to a response code.  There were no documented policies and procedures. The usual alertness preparations and activities consisted of the following:

Notices by the hospital administration or disaster control officer: “We are on Code White Alert.  Be on stand-by.  Be ready for any emergency or disaster.  Be ready to come to the hospital when called for.”

Stand-by is oftentimes confined to just knowing “We are on Code White Alert.  Be ready for any emergency or disaster.   Be ready to come to the hospital when called for.”

Staff on stand-by inside the hospital would just have a mental stance of being physically ready to respond to an emergency when called for without doing other response preparations, like supplies and space preparations.   Staff on stand-by outside the hospital would also just have a mental stance of waiting for a call and will just go to the hospital when called without a set response time to be physically present in the hospital.

From January to May, 2012, OMSurg developed an honest-to-goodness alert code system for its surge of patients.  The established policies and procedures coupled with simple cellphone communication system, 2 exercises and 4 actual activations have produced an alert code system that is structured, simple yet comprehensive in ensuring full and  effective alertness and readiness of ALL staff (consultants, residents, and interns) of OMSurg to respond to surge of patients emergencies.

Words: 350/350
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