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Streamlining of Medical Relief to Areas Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake with the “Area-based/Line-linking Support System”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2014

Satoshi Yamanouchi*
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan Emergency Center, Osaki Citizen Hospital, Osaki, Japan Ishinomaki Zone Joint Relief Team, Ishinomaki, Japan
Tadashi Ishii
Affiliation:
Ishinomaki Zone Joint Relief Team, Ishinomaki, Japan Department of Education and Support for Community Medicine, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan
Kazuma Morino
Affiliation:
Ishinomaki Zone Joint Relief Team, Ishinomaki, Japan Yamagata Prefectural Hospital and Medical Center for Emergency, Yamagata, Japan
Hajime Furukawa
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan
Atsushi Hozawa
Affiliation:
Division of Personalized Prevention and Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
Sae Ochi
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Soma Central Hospital, Soma, Japan
Shigeki Kushimoto
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine/Emergency Center, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan
*
Correspondence: Satoshi Yamanouchi, MD, PhD Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine Emergency Center Tohoku University Hospital 1-1 Seiryo-machi Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8574, Japan E-mail y-3104@yc4.so-net.ne.jp

Abstract

Introduction

When disasters that affect a wide area occur, external medical relief teams play a critical role in the affected areas by helping to alleviate the burden caused by surging numbers of individuals requiring health care. Despite this, no system has been established for managing deployed medical relief teams during the subacute phase following a disaster.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the Ishinomaki Medical Zone was the most severely-affected area. Approximately 6,000 people died or were missing, and the immediate evacuation of approximately 120,000 people to roughly 320 shelters was required. As many as 59 medical teams came to participate in relief activities. Daily coordination of activities and deployment locations became a significant burden to headquarters. The Area-based/Line-linking Support System (Area-Line System) was thus devised to resolve these issues for medical relief and coordinating activities.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was performed to examine the effectiveness of the medical relief provided to evacuees using the Area-Line System with regards to the activities of the medical relief teams and the coordinating headquarters. The following were compared before and after establishment of the Area-Line System: (1) time required at the coordinating headquarters to collect and tabulate medical records from shelters visited; (2) time required at headquarters to determine deployment locations and activities of all medical relief teams; and (3) inter-area variation in number of patients per team.

Results

The time required to collect and tabulate medical records was reduced from approximately 300 to 70 minutes/day. The number of teams at headquarters required to sort through data was reduced from 60 to 14. The time required to determine deployment locations and activities of the medical relief teams was reduced from approximately 150 hours/month to approximately 40 hours/month. Immediately prior to establishment of the Area-Line System, the variation of the number of patients per team was highest. Variation among regions did not increase after establishment of the system.

Conclusion

This descriptive analysis indicated that implementation of the Area-Line System, a systematic approach for long-term disaster medical relief across a wide area, can increase the efficiency of relief provision to disaster-stricken areas.

Yamanouchi S , Ishii T , Morino K , Furukawa H , Hozawa A , Ochi S , Kushimoto S . Streamlining of Medical Relief to Areas Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake with the “Area-based/Line-linking Support System” Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(6):1-9 .

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2014 

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