The Business of “Business Continuity Planning”


Strategic Plan Series: Quality and Safety
Note: Eastern Health’s Strategic Plan 2014-2017, Together We Can, was released on June 30, 2014. This article is one in a series outlining each of the plan’s four priorities: Quality and Safety, Access, Sustainability and Population Health.

I kept hearing about the need for “business continuity” as I worked on developing Eastern Health’s new Strategic Plan, but I didn’t know what it meant. As the name suggests, I figured it must have something to do with ensuring our operations could continue under various circumstances, but I didn’t realize it was an integral part of emergency planning or Accreditation requirements. As someone with the work title “planning specialist,” I felt the need to find out more about this type of planning.

Lisa Shallow, business continuity planning coordinator with Eastern Health.

Lisa Shallow, business continuity planning coordinator with Eastern Health.

In a nutshell, business continuity involves planning and preparing to provide services and programs no matter what circumstances arise, such as incidents of violence or aggression, adverse weather or other catastrophic events.

Lisa Shallow, business continuity planning coordinator, says that “Eastern Health has responded very well to numerous health emergencies in the past, such as Hurricane Igor and Blackout 2014. What we need to do now is formalize our plans and protocols and demonstrate that our employees are ready to respond. Without having formal plans on paper, to an outside organization like Accreditation Canada it might look as if we are not as ready as we think we are.”

Another key aspect of business continuity involves ensuring that employees are well-trained to respond to a wide variety of potential threats. Gary Barnes, Director of Protection Services, says that the recent training completed by a number of leaders within our organization is a significant part of this training. “We now have 16 employees or ‘champions’ who have completed the Business Continuity Planning (BCP) certification requirements from the Disaster Recovery Institute Canada,” he explains. “We are also developing a BCP information package for all directors to help educate staff and prepare them for their business continuity processes in their respective programs.”

Nurses and managers from the Agnes Pratt Nursing Home who stayed onsite overnight during a storm on January 11, 2013 in order to be available for their shifts the following morning.

Nurses and managers from the Agnes Pratt Nursing Home who stayed onsite overnight during a storm on January 11, 2013 in order to be available for their shifts the following morning.

Identifying business continuity as a priority under Quality & Safety in our new Strategic Plan reinforces the importance of getting our plans in place and preparing our employees. Over the coming months you will be hearing more about what Eastern Health is doing around business continuity of the vast programs and services we provide in our geographically dispersed region. In brief, the main message is as simple as the Guides and Scouts motto: “Be Prepared.” ■

Towns were inaccessible after Hurricane Igor hit Newfoundland and Labrador on September 21, 2010.

Towns were inaccessible after Hurricane Igor hit Newfoundland and Labrador on September 21, 2010.

Scenes from Trouty, Bonavista, during Hurricane Igor, September 21, 2010.

Scenes from Trouty, Trinity Bay, NL, during Hurricane Igor, September 21, 2010.

To learn more about Business Continuity Planning at Eastern Health, please contact Lisa Shallow, business continuity planning coordinator, at lisashallow@easternhealth.ca or (709) 752-4003. To get more details on Quality and Safety and the other priorities in our Strategic Plan, go to the Strategic Plan 2014-17 website or contact the Planning Department through Marie Duffett at (709) 777-8255 or marie.duffet@easternhealth.ca) or Gillian Janes at (709) 777-6773 or gillian.janes@easternhealth.ca).
This story was written by Gillian Janes, a planning specialist with the Planning Department.

One response to “The Business of “Business Continuity Planning”

  1. Pingback: Business Continuity Plan In A Nutshell | Continuity Planning Focus·

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