Should we talk about the weather?

Having bopped around a fair amount of the nation over the last 6 months or so, I heard a fair number of stories from folks working in healthcare of the many and varied travails they faced during the winter months as whatever powers one might attribute to nature wandered very far afield. Folks who typically don’t have much in the way of wintery precipitation had to deal with that; some areas used to snow, etc. got a little more of it than usual. While others remained (more or less) unscathed.

From a facility preparation standpoint, it does seem that weather patterns are becoming less reliable from one year to the next. And with that, getting ready for each season’s arrival (I hesitate using the term “onslaught” – don’t want to jinx anyone), is almost a new challenge at every turn.

To that end, the good folks at the American Society of Health Care Engineering (ASHE) have assembled a free resource aimed at sharing the experience of healthcare industry folks. If you’re like me, there’s nothing better than a compelling well-told story and this e-booklet has its fair share of examples of the methods folks have employed to better prepare their organizations for whatever weather they might have to weather at any given time. Certainly, my experiences over the last 40-plus years continues to bring me face-to-face with a great deal of ingenuity and commitment to ensuring the continuum of patient care, regardless of the circumstances. I’ve also found that there’s always something new to learn—or an existing strategy to reinforce—and this resource is no exception.

I guess it all comes down to the old maxim, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” The ASHE e-booklet is an excellent compendium of information. Check it out before the summer winds come blowin’ in across the sea.

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at