Skip to main content Accessibility help

Secure Scalable Disaster Electronic Medical Record and Tracking System

  • Gerard DeMers (a1), Christopher Kahn (a1), Per Johansson (a2), Colleen Buono (a1), Octav Chipara (a2), William Griswold (a2) and Theodore Chan (a1)...



Electronic medical records (EMRs) are considered superior in documentation of care for medical practice. Current disaster medical response involves paper tracking systems and radio communication for mass-casualty incidents (MCIs). These systems are prone to errors, may be compromised by local conditions, and are labor intensive. Communication infrastructure may be impacted, overwhelmed by call volume, or destroyed by the disaster, making self-contained and secure EMR response a critical capability.


As the prehospital disaster EMR allows for more robust content including protected health information (PHI), security measures must be instituted to safeguard these data. The Wireless Internet Information System for medicAl Response in Disasters (WIISARD) Research Group developed a handheld, linked, wireless EMR system utilizing current technology platforms. Smart phones connected to radio frequency identification (RFID) readers may be utilized to efficiently track casualties resulting from the incident. Medical information may be transmitted on an encrypted network to fellow prehospital team members, medical dispatch, and receiving medical centers. This system has been field tested in a number of exercises with excellent results, and future iterations will incorporate robust security measures.


A secure prehospital triage EMR improves documentation quality during disaster drills.

DeMersG, KahnC, JohanssonP, BuonoC, ChiparaO, GriswoldW, ChanT. Secure Scalable Disaster Electronic Medical Record and Tracking System. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(5):1-4.


Corresponding author

Correspondence: Gerard DeMers, DO, DHSc, MPH University of California, San Diego Health System UCSD EM Department 200 W. Arbor Street San Diego, California 92103 USA E-mail


Hide All
1.Garner, A, Lee, A, Harrison, K, Schultz, CH. Comparative analysis of multiple-casualty incident triage algorithms. Ann Emerg Med. 2001;38:541-548.
2.Kahn, CA, Schultz, CH, Miller, KT, et al. Does START triage work? An outcomes assessment after a disaster. Ann Emerg Med. 2009;54(3):424-430, 430 e421.
3.Kahn, CA, Lerner, EB, Cone, DC. Triage. In: Koenig KL, Schultz CH, eds. Koenig and Schultz's Disaster Medicine: Comprehensive Principles and Practices. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 2010:174-183.
4.Garner, A. Documentation and tagging of casualties in multiple casualty incidents. Emerg Med (Fremantle). 2003;15(5-6):475-479.
5.Bouman, JH, Schouwerwou, RJ, Van der Eijk, KJ, van Leusden, AJ, Savelkoul, TJ. Computerization of patient tracking and tracing during mass casualty incidents. Eur J Emerg Med. 2000;7(3):211-216.
6.Teich, JM, Wagner, MM, Mackenzie, CF, Schafer, KO. The informatics response in disaster, terrorism, and war. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2002;9(2):97-104.
7.Chipara, O, Plymoth, AN, Liu, F, Huang, R, Evans, B, Johansson, P, Rao, R, Griswold, WG. “Achieving Reliable Communication in Dynamic Emergency Responses” American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium (AMIA 2011).
8.Padgette, L, Scarfone, K, Chen, L. Guide to Bluetooth Security Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Special Publication 800-121 Revision 1. National. Institute of Standards and Technology. Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA; 2012: 1-47.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed