Since its creation in 2014, Powered for Patients has worked to develop and promote best practices that safeguard emergency power in critical healthcare facilities and expedite public and private sector response when emergency power is threatened at these facilities during a power outage.
P4P has had several opportunities to develop and promote best practices, starting with its 2015 emergency power resilience initiative with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA). The initiative resulted in the adoption of the first P4P-proposed emergency power status reporting protocol for hospitals. Prior to the initiative, hospitals in Rhode Island were required to notify the RI Department of Health (RIDOH) anytime they went on generator power. The P4P recommendation took the existing protocol a step further, and called on hospitals to notify RIDOH officials when emergency power was activated and when it stopped operating. In most cases, the notification that emergency power operations had ended would coincide with the restoration of utility power, but in situations in which a mechanical problem resulted in the loss of emergency power, the new protocol helped ensure that RIDOH officials were promptly notified of such an occurrence. This enhanced situational awareness of an emergency power threat would enable an accelerated response, minimizing the risk that a threat to emergency power would trigger an emergency evacuation.
This new protocol, and other best practices, were highlighted in Roadmap to Resiliency, a white paper co-authored by Powered for Patients and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering published in 2017. The white paper chronicled threats to emergency power over the course of many disasters and detailed a number of advanced technologies that enhance emergency power resiliency.
As P4P examined other ways to accelerate emergency power threat reporting and response, P4P project director Eric Cote focused on the growing use by hospitals of fault detection and diagnostic (FDD) technology, which is connected to an emergency power system much like a heart monitor is connected to a patient. FDD-equipped hospitals could obtain automated, real time alerts anytime their emergency power system turned on, or experienced a mechanical problem while operating.
Cote’s saw the growing use of FDD technology as an opportunity to help government officials with access to temporary emergency power assets dramatically improve their situational awareness of unfolding threats to emergency power in hospitals, thus enabling faster response, which could include deployment of temporary generators or generator fuel. With FDD technology being supplied by more than a half dozen companies, Cote envisioned developing a system that could synthesize FDD data feeds from multiple systems into a single data stream that could provide government officials with a consolidated dashboard showing real time emergency power status at all monitored facilities. Cote successfully applied for funding from the Department of Homeland Security to develop such a solution, which he launched as Power P.I.O.N.E.E.R. (Power Information Needed to Expedite Emergency Response).
In 2021, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency, which had contracted P4P to lead a multi-phase emergency power resilience initiative in 2019, providing funding for the initial deployment of Power P.I.O.N.E.E.R. in two single generator hospitals in LA County.
The LA County initiative culminated in October 2023 with the publication of the Healthcare Facility Emergency Power Resilience Playbook, effectively becoming the second edition of the original Playbook developed for RIEMA in 2017. The LA County Playbook built on the foundation established by the RIEMA edition, introducing more robust emergency power status reporting protocols and the nation’s first confidential risk-rating of hospital emergency power systems based on vulnerabilities such as generator age, lack of redundant emergency power or limited onsite fuel storage capacity.
If your organization has an emergency power resilience best practice that you’d like P4P to share, please contact P4P project director Eric Cote at email@example.com, or by calling 401-374-8500.