Healthcare organisations are designed to achieve consistent and reproducible outcomes when faced with planned, predictable or ‘routine’ emergencies. Unfortunately, the more robust the system, the less agile it is when faced with a novel clinical crisis. This is not surprising, as it is impossible to create emergency operating procedures for every new or unforeseen catastrophe.
Similarly, many surgeons in positions of leadership have limited exposure to executive decision-making or clinical expertise outside their area of specialist training. It is not unreasonable therefore for surgical leaders and their organisations to feel overwhelmed by complex and evolving crises, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic. At such times, it is important to reflect on key strategies that can provide pragmatic, timely and cohesive means of restructuring the delivery of surgical care at an organisational level.
In an editorial for the World Journal of Surgery, Gogalniceanu et al. describe five concepts that can help surgical institutions adapt and create a crisis control plan in dynamic circumstances:
- Capacity and resource management
- Contingency planning
- Clinical knowledge