December 12, 2018
What happens if the patient is found in an emergency situation and doctors aren't able to obtain their records in a timely fashion. Worse, what if doctors are unable to obtain their medical documents at all?
Health Information Exchanges (HIE) increase the accessibility of patient information to other hospitals and doctors. Despite the smartphones we carry in our pockets and pair with high-tech smart watches, most Americans' medical documents are still only stored as paper copies.
In the event that a doctor is unable to obtain the patient's medical records, they are at risk of missing pertinent information, such as drug allergies, medical history, etc... that could completely change the course of treatment. If the patient is unconscious and unaccompanied, the risk is even greater.
A hurricane is defined as an intense tropical weather system sustaining winds of at least 74 mph. The intensity of a hurricane is measured using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which helps predict the potential damage caused based on the speed of the hurricane's winds. There are five categories of hurricanes, with anything above a category three being considered a "major" hurricane. They are named by the Meteorological Organization's Hurricane Committee, which recycles the same list of names every six years. Hurricanes that are responsible for significant catastrophes, a large death toll, and overall had a huge impact have their names retired from the list. Some of these retired names include, Ivan, Katrina, Harvey, and Sandy.
Hurricane season certainly isn't merciful. One of the most recent notable hurricanes, Maria, made landfall on the island of Dominica as a category five hurricane and Puerto Rico as a category four. Maria caused $90 billion dollars in damages and is directly responsible for 64 deaths, however other investigative reports propose that the storm had a death toll reaching well over one-thousand.
Hurricanes are notorious for taking the lives of many every year, as well as causing billions of dollars in damage, and injuring hundreds upon thousands of innocent individuals. Hospitals are swamped with patients, with and without proper identification and records. Medical records relying so heavily upon a system as outdated as paper documents, when we have more than enough technology to digitize this information, is outright nonsensical. While privacy and the digital safety are very real concerns with the implementation of Health Information Exchanges, they are the hidden heroes of the hurricane season.
Health Information Exchanges (HIE) digitize patients' crucial medical documents and allow the information to be universally accessible across hospitals. Increasing the accessibility of these medical documents saves lives. Doctors are able to find out their patients' medical history, drug information, and more, faster and easier. HIE replace the traditional faxing of medical records, that may take another office a day or two to get to a hospital that needs the information immediately. During hurricane season, patients may come in unconscious and unaccompanied. In that event, there is no way for a doctor to find out their history or allergies. Even if the patient comes in conscious, there's no way to know for sure if they're being 100% truthful or accidentally leaving information out.
Forcare is a medical software with Interoperability at the heart of it's focus. We are determined to make patient's information easily accessible across hospitals, with emphasis on secure exchange of the information to protect and preserve patients' sensitive records. For more information about who we are as a company and our software, please contact us.