Short Takes On News & Events

In Case Of Tornado, EHRs Can Be Just The Prescription

By Jenny Gold

May 24th, 2013, 4:00 PM

Moore Medical Center (Photo by Norman Regional Health System)

Everyone expects a hospital to be ready to jump into action when disaster strikes. But what about when the disaster devastates the hospital itself?

Turns out, it helps a lot to have an electronic medical record system in place.

At least that was the case at Moore Medical Center in Oklahoma, a small hospital right in the path of the tornado that ripped through the suburbs of Oklahoma City on Monday. Three-hundred people — staff, patients and community members — hunkered down in the cafeteria, stairwells and chapel as 200-miles-per-hour winds demolished the building around them.

One patient in labor stayed on the second floor with two nurses, where they could continue to monitor the fetal heartbeat.

Amazingly, everyone survived. Within an hour, 30 patients had been transferred to the two other hospitals that are part of the Norman Regional Health System. And every one of them arrived with their medical histories fully intact. The woman in labor even delivered a healthy baby later that evening.

“The transfer was totally seamless,” says John Meharg, director of health information technology at Norman, which has had an electronic health record system for the past five years. “We’re very fortunate that we’re a little ahead of the game,” he said.

If the hospital system had still been using paper, Norman explains, “the first thing we would have had to do was find their records. And with all of the hustle and bustle of a disaster, they can easily get lost.” As for any records left behind in files, he continues, “if the tornado doesn’t get them, the subsequent rain would ruin them. The roof’s gone, the walls are gone, and the windows are gone.”

Instead, physicians at the two transfer hospitals were able to pick up care for the Moore patients where their home physicians left off. Even if the patients had been taken to hospitals outside of the Norman system, their records would still have gone along with them. That’s because Oklahoma City has a regional health information exchange that allows the various hospital systems in the area to access all patient records, says Meharg.

“I’m very happy,” he adds, breathing a sigh of relief. “The systems never missed a beat. It would really have been a mess if we weren’t electronic.”

7 Responses to “In Case Of Tornado, EHRs Can Be Just The Prescription”

  1. Bridget McKinley says:

    EHR is awesome- No doubt about it- Especially in a disaster situation.

  2. wilson says:

    Ask any Republican and they will tell you, EHRs are a massive government takeover! Dimwit Republicans will say, we were much better off with paper medical records in thousands upon thousands of folders lining hundreds upon hundreds of shelves in medical centers all across America. Idiots! Neanderthals! Cro-Magnons!

  3. ken says:

    The only massive government takeover that I see are well funded lobby groups that spread money around the Congress buying up prostitute members from both parties. Congress is nothing more than a legalized brothel. Anyone who makes a career as a member of Congress is nothing more than a common whore.

  4. Jeremy says:

    There a definate benefits for going electronic. This tornado disaster just highlights this without a doubt. Great evacuation system too, lot of lives were saved.

  5. The EMR is helpful in this disaster event but not functional if the patients needed their digital personal health record and diagnostic reports made available anywhere at anytime. The MCR system allows any doctor or first responder access to the victims vital health data in their smartphone using a patent ending QR Code enabled mobile health technology.

  6. The EMR is helpful in this disaster event but not functional if the patients needed their digital personal health record and diagnostic reports made available anywhere at anytime. The MCR system allows any doctor or first responder access to the victims vital health data in their smartphone using a patent pending QR Code enabled mobile health technology.

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    I’m this really is among the a lot important info for me personally. And i am satisfied reading ones write-up. Even so wanna review on a few typical difficulties, The internet site flavour is good, the actual posts is in point of fact great : Deb. Ideal activity, regards

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