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Information systems (IS) have facilitated workflow in the health care system for years. However, the utilization of IS in disaster medical assistance teams (DMATs) has been less studied.
In Taiwan, we started a program in 2008 to build up an information system, MEDical Assistance and Information Dashboard (MED-AID), to improve the capability and increase the efficiency of our national DMAT.
Method: The mission of our national DMAT was to provide acute trauma care and subacute outpatient care in the field after an emergency event (e.g., earthquakes). We built the IS through a user-oriented process to fit the need of the DMAT. We first analyzed the response work in the DMAT missions and reviewed the current paperwork. We evaluated the eligibility and effectiveness of the core functions of DMATs by experts in Taiwan and then developed the IS. The IS was then tested and revised each year in two table-top exercises and one regional full-scale exercise by the DMAT staffs who came from different hospitals in Taiwan.
During the past 10 years, we identified several core concepts of IS of DMAT: patient tracking, medical record, continuity of care, integration of referral resources, disease surveillance, patient information reporting, and medical resources management. The application of the IS facilitate the DMAT in providing safe patient care with continuous recording and integrate patient referral resources based on geographic information. The IS also help the planning in real-time disease surveillance and logistic function in the medical resources monitoring.
Information systems could facilitate patient care and relieve the workload on information analysis and resources management for DMATs.
This chapter focuses on the impact of tropical cyclones on human societies. This includes public health; the mortality and morbidity resulting from these events; intervention measures such as evacuation; medical preparedness for the affected population; and mitigation, prevention, and response strategies for the medical community drawn from a global perspective. Recent large cyclonic storms such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the U.S. and Typhoon Nari that caused devastation in Taiwan reaffirmed the need to meet the complex challenge of public health planning, especially for those with special needs. Typically, hospitals experience a lull in emergency department visits around the time the tropical cyclone makes landfall and in the storm's immediate aftermath. Part of disaster planning is deciding which medical supplies should be stockpiled for a tropical cyclone and its aftermath. Supplies of tetanus toxoid, oral and parental antibiotics, hypoglycemics, and others are needed in the aftermath of a cyclone.
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