We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 9/22 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Brian Mack (@BFMack) from @GLHC_HIE on the topic of “The Impact of HIEs in Natural Disasters.”
On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 storm, made landfall in SE Louisiana. Torrential rain and sustained winds exceeding 110 MPH quickly overwhelmed the protective measures in place, and the subsequent storm surge breached levies and flooded huge swaths of New Orleans and surrounding areas. Mass-devastation across Louisiana and Mississippi contributed to the deaths of nearly 1,500 people, forced tens of thousands more from their homes, and caused an estimated $108 billion in property damage. At that time, only 10% of physicians were actively using electronic medical records, and electronic health information exchange was still was in its infancy. An incalculable number of paper health records were lost forever. The lack of access to patient information during and following the storm significantly hindered medical response efforts, and required years to replace.
Fast forward to Aug. 24th-26th, 2017, when Hurricane Harvey, an even larger (Cat. 4) storm struck Southern Texas, and dumped more than 40 inches of rain on the greater Houston area. While Harvey has been described as “Houston’s Katrina” in terms of its intensity and impact, the story was significantly different for the healthcare delivery system. Two health information exchanges in the region, the Greater Houston Healthconnect (GHHC) and Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA) worked together to assist both those who stayed through the storm, as well as those who were evacuated. GHHC staff actually shuttled between shelters in the Houston area, overseeing the set-up of HIE portals, to help clinicians provide care for patients. Providers were able to maintain access to patient records, even from remote locations, using laptops and WiFi to access EHR systems in the normal way. As a result, the response to medical needs, and continuity of care for the population impacted by Harvey across Texas was seamlessly maintained at a very high level.
This week’s #HITSM Twitter chat will discuss the opportunities, challenges, and value of community-based Health Information Exchange in connecting the “last mile” of interoperability, particularly in emergency situations.
Some additional reading:
- As Harvey Engulfs Houston, Texas HIE Leaders Move in to Help – Healthcare Informatics
- Houston health systems rely on robust IT infrastructure to weather Hurricane Harvey – FierceHealthcare
- Quarter Million Dollar Investment to Coordinate Healthcare for Kids and Families of Genesee County – Great Lakes Health Connect
Here are the questions that will serve as the framework for this week’s #HITsm chat:
T1: What lesson(s) should we, as participants in the healthcare ecosystem, take away from events like Hurricanes Katrina & Harvey? #HITsm
T2: What roles do/should stakeholders: government (local, state, federal), HC providers, private sector, citizenry play in assuring adequate preparation for disasters? #HITsm
T3: What responsibilities do health IT infrastructure vendors (EHR), and Health Information Exchange have in supporting successful emergency response? #HITsm
T4: How do community based HIE’s differ from national interoperability efforts and/or vendor based solutions in emergency situations? #HITsm
T5: What examples from your own local communities can you share where community-based health information exchange either made a difference, or COULD have made a difference in responding to a public emergency? #HITsm
Bonus: Aside from the basic task of networking disparate healthcare providers, how could Health Information Exchange contribute to better connected communities? #HITsm
10/13 – Role of Provider Engagement for Improving Data Accuracy
Hosted by @CAQH
We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.
If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.