EHRs, Part of “Robust IT Strategy,” Aid Recovery after Disasters
January 9, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System
Implementation of a robust health information technology (IT) strategy can help hospitals and other healthcare providers recover in the aftermath of disasters, according to a letter to the editor published in the December 2012 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. The letter writers, who include representatives from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cite care recovery after the 2011 destruction of a Joplin, Missouri, hospital by a tornado as an example of the positive role of health IT, including electronic health records (EHRs). In that example, care of the hospital’s patients was more seamless than it might otherwise have been because its EHR system was backed up off-site and access was shared among other hospitals in the health system, ensuring that individual patient records remained accessible even when the local site was destroyed.