How Physicians Led Their Organizations Through the “Fog of War”

April 18, 2021

// By Marlene Kurban //

Marlene KurbanHealth systems activate their hospital incident command systems (HICS) during a crisis, but usually the crisis doesn’t last for more than a year as the coronavirus pandemic has. Four health system leaders share how the structure helped them navigate during the worst of it, and how its flexibility continues to meet the needs for system-wide coordination and communication. 

From the start of the pandemic, hospital incident command centers became the temporary headquarters for crisis management. Leaders had to adapt day-to-day to keep their organizations and all stakeholders aligned, with effective communications strategies an absolutely essential component. But the pandemic is not over yet, and timely, accurate guidance continues to be a critical need.

Dr. Steven Cabrales, chief medical officer of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula; Dr. Kevin L. Lewis, president and CEO at SSM Health Medical Group in Oklahoma; Dr. Ron Nutting, chief medical officer at Reading Hospital, Tower Health; and Dr. John F. Rodis, founder and president of Arista Health, LLC, shared their experiences over the past year during the recent Strategic Health Care Marketing webinar, “Hospital Incident Command Centers: Communication Tools and Strategies that Help Physician Executives Lead Through the Pandemic,” moderated by Emilie Ansel, CEO of Private Health News. 

Activating Incident Command Centers

Dr. Ron Nutting, chief medical officer, Reading Hospital, Tower Health

Dr. Ron Nutting, chief medical officer, Reading Hospital, Tower Health

The panelists describe how their hospital incident command centers were activated early on in the pandemic.

“We have a strategy with our incident command center that allows us to stand it up at a moment’s notice, so at the start of the crisis we stood up our incident command center at Reading Hospital and it ran seven days a week, around the clock,” says Dr. Ron Nutting.


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