Electronic Health Records and Natural Disasters

Electronic Health Records - Lessons from Sandy

Electronic Health Records – Lessons Learned from Sandy

In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy that hit the east coast this past October, what have we learned about our electronic health records and health IT? We can find many that are sharing their experiences and just what they have learned. But in the end it all starts with being prepared.

Denise Anderson, Director of Strategic Initiative for the NJ-HITEC interviewed a Newark based physician that has implemented an electronic health record and was prepared for the hurricane. They started days before contacting patients and readied their generator which they did use and were able to operate their EHR. Read the whole interview in the HealthIT Buzz, Benefits of Electronic Health Records Are Seen In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy. Also in the Buzz, ONC Specialist Brett Coughlin writes, In the wake of Hurricane Sandy: Health IT 1, Paper Records 0.

What are the 3 health IT must-haves for natural disaster preparedness? According to Benjamin Harris of Healthcare IT News they are; on-site safety, off-site data, and accessibility. Learn the detail in his article.

New York and New Jersey did see the worst of Sandy. The Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) reported its importance and ability to aid in critical continuity of care during the storm. With events this large, hospitals and nursing homes were evacuated moving patients to facilities not necessarily familiar to them. Healthcare IT News asked David Whitlinger, executive director of New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), which oversees SHIN-NY, about what was happening in New York City, about the critical roles for electronic health records and health information exchange in crisis situations, and about his hopes that this can be a teachable moment for those care providers that have yet to link up with an HIE. Read the full article, In disasters such as Sandy, HIE is ‘as critical as having roads, as having fire hydrants’.

MedCity News says “Hurricane Sandy proves the value of health IT infrastructure, state info exchanges“. Where Katrina showed us the need for digital healthcare, Sandy showed us what good digital healthcare can do. But all is and was not perfect in New York City as mid storm generator failures forced further evacuations and the use of paper records.

Kathleen Roney at Becker’s Hospital Review checked in with Kumar Chatani the CIO of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City for some Q&A on “Weathering Hurricane Sandy and Other HIT Challenges”. Chatani says, “IT disaster preparedness involves a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, but as they say, luck favors the prepared. Whether you are in New York City or California, you have to be ready for disasters.” Read the entire Q&A.

Download and listen to our MU Live! show’s podcast with guest Stevie Johnson from Health Informatics Consulting. She is a Governor appointed member of the New Jersey State HIT Commission and Co-Chairs its Privacy and Security Policy Sub-Committee. She discussed during the show how NJ is fairing after Sandy along with some lessons learned.