Need for intensive care? A socio-technical systems perspective on water supply failure preparedness in German health care facilities

Heinzel, Christine, van der Heijden, Sophie, Mayer, Aljoscha, Saenger, Nathalie and Sandholz, Simone, (2023). Need for intensive care? A socio-technical systems perspective on water supply failure preparedness in German health care facilities. International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection, 44 1-13

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Heinzel, Christine
    van der Heijden, Sophie
    Mayer, Aljoscha
    Saenger, Nathalie
    Sandholz, Simone
    Title Need for intensive care? A socio-technical systems perspective on water supply failure preparedness in German health care facilities
    Appearing in International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection
    Volume 44
    Publication Date 2023-11-27
    Place of Publication Amsterdam
    Publisher Elsevier B.V.
    Start page 1
    End page 13
    Language eng
    Abstract Health care facilities play a crucial role in the well-being of society. They are heavily dependent on other critical infrastructures including water supply for their daily operations and failure of water supply can have severe consequences. However, health care facilities are often underprepared for this scenario. The study investigates the emergency preparedness of German health care facilities to water supply failures, utilizing a socio-technical system approach. Data from interviews with experts and a survey among German hospitals were evaluated to determine the social and technical preparedness measures, in order to identify barriers and potential approaches for solutions. The findings show that there are still many gaps and needs for improvement. In particular, the social components of emergency preparedness are often given insufficient attention, with a lack of awareness about vulnerabilities to water failures being a shortcoming. The results were used to develop a framework linking social and technical components of critical infrastructure systems. The framework demonstrates that although the technical infrastructure components form the basis of preparedness, preparedness levels depend on the functioning of social infrastructure. The results underline the necessity of understanding the interlinkages between social and technical components, which can help identify potential vulnerabilities to infrastructure failures and risks. The study highlights the urgent need to comprehend health care facilities as socio-technical systems.
    Keyword Critical infrastructures
    Health care
    Water supply failures
    Sociotechnical systems
    Emergency preparedness
    Resilience
    Copyright Holder The Authors
    Copyright Year 2023
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.1016/j.ijcip.2023.100644
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    Created: Thu, 07 Dec 2023, 00:49:36 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS