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.