Health Information Exchange Services in Support of Disaster Prepardnesss & Emergency Medical Response
Over the last decade, a number of significant disasters have struck the United States, including hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemic flu, and terrorist attacks. Each of these events has resulted in evacuations and/or the treatment of patients outside of where they traditionally seek medical treatment. Consequently, care is often provided with incomplete information, which may impact the quality of care or cause harm to patients. As the nation has moved towards the digitization of patient health information, many initiatives have focused on how electronic patient data can be used during a disaster or emergency to improve care. Additionally, many have considered how health information exchange (HIE) can support healthcare professionals not only during disasters, but also during day-to-day emergencies. While significant progress has been made since one of the U.S.’s worst disasters, Hurricane Katrina, the country as a whole was recently given a grade of “C-” for disaster preparedness and a “D-” for access to emergency care, suggesting that additional work is needed.