In the aftermath of an emergency situation or natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy we often look back and ask a serious question:
Reflecting on the events that unfolded in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, we can get a idea of the magnitude of what can happen:
- approximately 1.5 million people were evacuated.
- emergency shelters were set up to triage 30,000 to 40,000 people.
- a 700 bed emergency room was set up to address patient needs.
But in the midst of this effort another crisis was being battled which increased the degree of difficulty for healthcare providers in treating these patients:
Medical records were lost, destroyed or inaccessible for use to treat patients properly.
In the wake of the storm many of these patients could not remember what prescription medications they took. Doctors could not confirm medications, immunizations, test results or a patient’s medical history. One can only imagine the problems that arose trying to treat these patients when healthcare providers were lacking important patient personal health information.
Some would say the electronic medical record systems employed at hospitals and doctor’s offices now solve the problems we faced during Katrina. But recently during Hurricane Sandy, we saw hospitals losing power and cell phone grids being crippled. How are the electronic medical records to be accessed then? Likewise, records ‘in the cloud’ or ‘silos’ may not be usable.
You, as a patient, need to take responsibility to ensure your personal health information is available in a medical emergency. You need to maintain a record of this information to share with medical providers, whether it be a routine checkup with your physician or a medical emergency situation.
A simple solution:
A personal health record (PHR) can be used to keep track of your personal health information and protect you in an emergency. A simple PHR would include medical conditions, allergies, a list of prescription medications along and emergency contact information.
Products like Emergi-Tube and QuickStart ePHR work together, making it easy to keep a record of your health information. With the QuickStart ePHR you can enter your personal health information and print forms to share with your physician. You can edit, update and save information on your computer or USB memory device. As you enter the information into the PHR form it automatically saves your health information and allows you to print a wallet identification card to carry at all times.
Emergi-Tube is a lightweight, water resistant storage device to hold your printed health records and USB memory device. Designed to be visible in the home, it’s ‘grab and go’ feature allow you to take your records with you if evacuated or just on the go. Additional tubes are ideal for in your car or suitcase when traveling.