Illnesses don’t believe in special treatment. Though some regions of the world, even of the country, are more prone to certain illnesses than others, illnesses don’t discriminate. Every individual is at risk, meaning that at one of your meetings, every attendee could easily come down with a cold, catch the flu or fall victim to some infection.
When Medical Emergencies Hit
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 1 out of 20 domestic travelers will suffer an illness or injury on their trip; only 5%. However, that number jumps when the travel becomes international; 1 out 4 international travelers (25%) will suffer an injury on their trip. Now looking at the number in that format, it’s not too bad. But when you think about a domestic conference of 2,000 people, well, that’s 50 ill or injured attendees. If you take this conference international, that’s 500 attendees affected. Now that’s a lot.
Luckily, these aren’t all life or death situations. These illnesses or injuries could include bouts of influenza, appearances of the common cold or sinus infections, even asthma attacks or food allergies, minor or severe. In those cases time is important, but it’s not always critical; these attendees might be able to handle the long lines of the emergency room for a simple medical solution.
But What If…
But what about when that isn’t the case? What if a meeting attendee suffers from a stroke or a heart attack? In these cases, time is of the essence. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death among Americans and every minute without critical lifesaving treatment constitutes a 10% decrease in survival rate. And unfortunately, research shows that paramedics don’t make it to the meeting site until four minutes after a call is placed to 911, which the paramedics not arriving until 13 minutes after. That process is fast, but unfortunately, it may not be fast enough.
And as the meeting planner, the legal duty of providing reasonable care falls under your responsibility. It is your duty to identify risks associated with an event; to inform your attendees and warn them of any potential health-related threat; to mitigate any of these associated risks. In fact, there is nothing associated with more liability at a meeting than an improperly managed medical emergency. And unfortunately they can emerge far more often than expected, especially at the following:
Senior Executive Meetings
When a group of executives or senior managers are scheduled to attend the meeting, proactive planning for medical emergencies is crucial. Not only are these eyes the ones that should see ell operations run as smoothly as possible, but they are the ones that personally contribute to the meeting, thus their absence is obviously noticed.
Depending upon the meeting’s location, the medical care offered in the destination country could be substandard as compared to what meeting attendees are accustomed to. Additionally, international healthcare often is accompanied by other problems, including language barriers, insurance problems, counterfeit medications or even a contaminated blood supply.
Meetings in Remote Locations
These meetings represent heightened risks, as they can be complicated by lengthy 911 response times as well as limited local medical capabilities and possibly even inconsistent levels of care.
Large Domestic Programs
As previously stated, 1 in 20 domestic meeting attendee is ill. So as the size of the meeting grows, not only does the number of those afflicted grow, but there is actually a direct correlation between the size of the group and the probability of a medical emergency occurring.
How On-Site Medical Support Can Benefit You
In any of those circumstances, it seems that normal emergency procedures may not be sufficient. Between wait times, driving times and even a potentially substandard medical systems, your existing options may not be enough for your attendees.
On-site medical support services can tackle all of those obstacles. If desired, they can provide a 24/7 on-site medical staff, on-site medical clinic, on-site pharmacy, on-call medical specialists, fast track hospital admissions and even a disaster preparedness plan. These on-site services greatly mitigate your risk; offering all necessary resources either immediately, or, in the case that an Emergency Room visit is unavoidable, they make resources available to your attendees much more quickly.
Whether these resources are always needed or not, their presence makes a differences. Their presence demonstrates to the meeting attendees that the company cares; that their wellbeing and comfort is a priority. And sometimes, that sentiment can be enough.