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Disaster Mobile Health Technology: Lessons from Haiti

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 May 2012

David W. Callaway*
The Operational Medicine Institute, Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts USA Department of Emergency Medicine, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina USA
Christopher R. Peabody
Department of Emergency Medicine, LAC+USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, California USA
Ari Hoffman
Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California USA
Elizabeth Cote
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis St, Boston, MassachusettsUSA
Seth Moulton
Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts USA
Amado Alejandro Baez
Centros de Diagnostico, Medicina Avanzada y Telemedicina (CEDIMAT), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Larry Nathanson
Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts USA
Correspondence: David W. Callaway, MD, MPA The Operational Medicine Institute Department of Emergency Medicine Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, MA 02215 USA E-mail



Mobile health (mHealth) technology can play a critical role in improving disaster victim tracking, triage, patient care, facility management, and theater-wide decision-making.


To date, no disaster mHealth application provides responders with adequate capabilities to function in an austere environment.


The Operational Medicine Institute (OMI) conducted a qualitative trial of a modified version of the off-the-shelf application iChart at the Fond Parisien Disaster Rescue Camp during the large-scale response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.


The iChart mHealth system created a patient log of 617 unique entries used by on-the-ground medical providers and field hospital administrators to facilitate provider triage, improve provider handoffs, and track vulnerable populations such as unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, traumatic orthopedic injuries and specified infectious diseases.


The trial demonstrated that even a non-disaster specific application with significant programmatic limitations was an improvement over existing patient tracking and facility management systems. A unified electronic medical record and patient tracking system would add significant value to first responder capabilities in the disaster response setting.

Callaway DW, Peabody CR, Hoffman A, Cote E, Moulton S, Baez AA, Nathanson L. Disaster mobile health technology: lessons from Haiti. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(2):1-5.

Original Research
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2012

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