Emergency Preparedness and Health IT Systems
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been increasing its initiatives to help providers prepare their IT systems for emergencies. These initiatives are important because there is always a chance for natural or man-made disasters to strike. A National Coordinator, Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, Msc and Greg S. Margolis, PhD NREMT-P explain that HHS is making an effort to help providers prepare for potential disasters and to protect data and patients in the event of an emergency: “The question isn’t whether or not we will have another disaster - it is just a matter of when, where, and how severe it will be.”
Natural disasters can be devastating events, and hurricanes, earthquakes and other storms can cut off electricity and internet connection which can lead to crisis situations in hospitals. That is why it is key to follow HHS activity and initiatives to prepare for emergencies.
Examples of HHS efforts of preparation are detailed below:
- First project is a single website that aggregates real-time data from Twitter to identify trends related to public health and incidences of disaster.
- Second project is another website that is still being developed, and it will include an interactive map to highlight the number of Medicare beneficiaries reliant on electricity on a given zip code level. This map will tie directly to data from the NOAA to warn hospitals and other providers about storms approaching that may cut power at their locations.
To see more information on HHS efforts to take on EHR and data disaster planning click here.