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August 2012

What Joplin teaches hospitals about disaster recovery planning

The Joplin, Mo. tornado took a harsh human toll -- it was the deadliest in the United States since 1947. It also dealt a direct blow to the health care infrastructure in the city of 50,000, leveling St. John's Regional Medical Center and leaving its health care providers, administrators and IT staffers with a difficult road to disaster recovery. "Pictures do not do the area justice," said Sandi Godfrey, birthing unit nurse manager at McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital in nearby Carthage. "It's devastating to look at….it's like a war zone where bombs went off, repetitively. It's a miracle we don't have thousands dead." Seeing the pictures of the Joplin devastation and considering how such an event would impact their own facilities probably has inspired hospital leaders across the country to redouble their own disaster recovery planning efforts as they pertain to both operations and information technology. The key lesson from Joplin is that IT and operations intersect at many points. Thanks to St. John's electronic health record ...

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