Electronic Health Records Critical in the Aftermath of Disasters

Published in: Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, v. 27, no. 6, Letter to the Editor, Dec. 2012, p. 620-622

Posted on RAND.org on December 01, 2012

by Mahshid Abir, Farzad Mostashari, Parmeeth Atwal, Nicole Lurie

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A fundamental tenet of preparedness for public health emergencies is the reliance on systems that rest on a bedrock of day-to-day use. For public health, this means building strong surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory systems. For health care, it means that providers, hospitals and clinics have the ability to deliver safe, high-quality, well-coordinated care daily and during emergencies. The increasing adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has important implications for health care preparedness. In addition to the demonstrated daily benefits of EHRs there are now many examples of the benefits of EHRs in emergency response and recovery.

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