The Covid-19 pandemic is a societal crisis that is a still ongoing incident for health care management and preparedness organizations to manage all over the world. It constitutes a great lesson to learn how to enhance resilience during an ongoing crisis.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a historical incident and from a resilience research point of view an unprecedented situation that we must learn from. The scope of the pandemic has forced health care management organizations to work under pressure for an extensive length of time, and resilience in such organizations in society is key for successful management and recovery.

ENGAGE partner and end user-organization KMC, The Center for Disaster Medicine and Traumatology, is a center within the county council of Östergötland in Sweden with the responsibility of maintaining operative disaster preparedness in the region. KMC also offers training and education for the health care domain and performs multidisciplinary research within the areas of traumatology, global health, human factors and C2 in close collaboration with Linköping University. Since the activation of regional medical major incident was declared at KMC in March 2020, staff has been assigned to incident management. Researchers from the center have been investigating the management of the Covid-19 pandemic on the level of the Regional Medical Command and Control. The researchers explore the following questions regarding information sharing, shared situation awareness and emergency management:

  • How has the Regional Medical Command and Control adapted and prioritised its work according to available information and situation development?
  • How have decisions and common operational pictures been communicated with health care units and to the public?
  • How can resilience be applied in an organization so that patient safety does not suffer over long term?

In the scope of the ENGAGE project, the communication directed from the Regional Medical Command and Control to the treating clinics and in extension, to the patients and the public, is of interest as several solutions to engaging society relies on communication efforts. How do we strengthen the communication from the small management group to the rest of organisation, other crisis management actors and the society in general? The ENGAGE project has investigated questions regarding knowledge and information sharing (both within and outside organisations) and communication solutions for improved engagement of society in crisis management. Continuing to examine the experience of handling and communicating a pandemic from the viewpoints of disaster medicine and resilience can ensure that important lessons from handling a rare incident are documented. Results can aid in development of working procedures and guidelines for personnel in Medical Command and Control, and further contribute to solutions to engage society through communicating a common operational picture.

Authors: Susanna Lönnqvist, Carl-Oscar Jonson, Peter Berggren (Katastrofmedicinskt Centrum)

Photo credit: Susanna Lönnqvist (Katastrofmedicinskt Centrum)