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Table top drills for healthcare: An MIT expert offers advice

Table top exercises are required for hospitals and healthcare systems in the U.S. to ensure quality of care for patients and to help hospitals remain open during an incident. CMS now requires emergency preparedness for 17 different types of healthcare facilities and requires one table top drill per year.

Healthcare table top drills

CMS specifies six different categories for preparedness, they are:

  • Epidemic/pandemic
  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Nuclear / radiological
  • Explosive / incendiary
  • Natural disasters

As a healthcare provider you should choose from one of these six categories when designing a table top drill.  In addition, we suggest reviewing these best practices presented by Dr. Steve Goldman, from MIT.  Dr. Goldman has worked in the field of emergency preparedness and crisis communications for over 35 years.  He co-directs the “Crisis Management & Business Continuity” Professional Education Summer Course at MIT. Goldman has provided both a white paper and an on-demand webinar for you to review on table top drills for healthcare.  They both cover:

  • Defining goals for the drill
  • Who should be part of the team preparing and executing the drill
  • What scenarios work best for drills
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the drill and how to institute lessons learned

The White Paper covers several “drill events” when hostages are taken inside the hospital.  The events include evacuating the ED, a report of a bomb on the grounds, responding to social media “news” while the incident is unfolding, and negotiating the patient hostage situation. Our complimentary on-demand webinar includes several polls to help emergency responders understand where they are in relation to other emergency planners. For even more information on creating an effective drill we invite you to visit our Table Top Exercise page which has several resources including checklists, other webinars and more.  If you’d like to see how a drill happens on our platform, we have created “Everbridge General Hospital” which is a test environment where you can see “live” events with interactions from team members and the reporting metrics that we use.

Table Top Exercises — Resources:

  1. White Paper with Dr. Steven Goldman
  2. On-Demand Webinar with Dr. Steven Goldman
  3. Further resources at Table Top Exercises
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