Disaster Preparedness

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A Testament to Telework’s Progress

Brittany Ballenstedt | NextGov | July 3, 2012

Federal agencies are open on Tuesday, after a major storm in the D.C. area on Friday that has caused power outages and transportation problems for residents. And the fact that federal agencies are open, with employees having the option to take unscheduled leave or telework, pays tribute to the fact that telework has come a long way in the past couple of years. Read More »

3 Reasons Why the US is Vulnerable to Big Disasters

During the 2017 disaster season, three severe hurricanes devastated large parts of the U.S. The quick succession of major disasters made it obvious that such large-scale emergencies can be a strain, even in one of the world’s richest countries. As a complex emergency researcher, I investigate why some countries can better withstand and respond to disasters. The factors are many and diverse, but three major ones stand out because they are within the grasp of the federal and local governments: where and how cities grow; how easily households can access critical services during disaster; and the reliability of the supply chains for critical goods. For all three of these factors, the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction. In many ways, Americans are becoming more vulnerable by the day.

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At CES, Humetrix Shows its e-Prescribed Digital Health Technology to Transform Healthcare in the Hands of Consumers

Press Release | Humetrix | January 4, 2018

At CES, Humetrix will demo its suite of mobile health platforms that put consumers around the world in control of their own care. By offering actionable mobile applications that address the complexity of medical care, delivered in multiple settings, and which needs to be personalized, Humetrix places decision-making tools in consumers’ own hands and on their own devices, where they can use it.

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Auditors Fault Pentagon Sorting of Biggest Bioweapon Threats

Diane Barnes | Nextgov.com | May 19, 2014

Auditors say the Defense Department is not following its own procedures for guarding against "potentially catastrophic" biological strikes...

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Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine (CCDM)

The Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine (CCDM) is the result of a collaboration between American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the government and community partners in St. Maarten and the Caribbean region. The CCDM is being created as a center of excellence to foster collaboration among professionals responsible for healthcare delivery, disaster preparedness, emergency response, and medical education.

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Community Health Network in Houston Leverages Open Source Tech to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Undaunted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, the Stephen F. Austin Community Health Network (SFA) responded to the crisis by leveraging open source technology to reach out to their patients and victims of the hurricane in areas of Texas that are virtually inaccessible. The Health Network, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) covering Brazoria County, is one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey and currently recovering. Using an advanced cloud-based version of the OpenEMR software, the SFA Community Health Network has been able to treat patients in clinics physically unreachable by their medical providers.

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Fax Technologies Take Center Stage at HIMSS19 Exhibition

One of the most surprising developments at HIMSS19 is the large number of companies exhibiting their Fax Technologies. Long derided by reporters, health IT consultants, and EHR vendors, fax technologies have been growing in leaps and bounds while EHRs continue to fail to deliver interoperability. Just a couple of years ago faxes were used in around 75% of medical records exchanges. Latest numbers indicate that faxes are now used to exchange more than 85% of medical records. Most people would react in horror to such figures. How could physicians and medical personnel rely on antiquated paper technologies like faxes? The real story to be found on the exhibit floor at the HIMSS 2019 conference is that what we are seeing is a rapid transition to digital fax technologies and platforms. And this transition is taking place because physicians and medical staff have figured out they work!

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FEMA Was Overwhelmed by Hurricanes and Wildfires in 2017, GAO Says

Erin Ailworth | Wall Street Journal | September 4, 2018

The back-to-back devastation of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, followed by catastrophic wildfires in California, overwhelmed federal disaster responders in 2017, according to a government report released Tuesday. The unprecedented sequence of storms and fires forced Federal Emergency Management Agency staff to jump from one disaster to another and in some cases use uncertified workers to fill key roles. “They were 30% understaffed when Harvey hit,” said Chris Currie, director of emergency management issues at the Government Accountability Office, which wrote Tuesday’s report. “By the time Maria hit Puerto Rico, they were down to the bottom of the barrel.”

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GSMA Announces Launch of Disaster Response Innovation Fund

Press Release | GSMA | September 7, 2017

The GSMA today announced the launch of its Disaster Response Innovation Fund to spur development of mobile technology solutions to assist and empower people and communities affected by humanitarian emergencies, and to strengthen disaster prevention, preparedness and response. The Fund is backed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and supported by the GSMA and its members...

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GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health releases report on deaths due to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and outlines steps to protect the most vulnerable communities from disasters

Press Release | GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health | August 28, 2018

In an independent report published today, researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW Milken Institute SPH) estimated there were 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria from September 2017 through the end of February 2018. The researchers also identified gaps in the death certification and public communication processes and went on to make recommendations that will help prepare Puerto Rico for future hurricanes and other natural disasters.

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HIMSS18: Key Exhibitor Booths for Open Solutions, Collaboration, and Interoperability

The annual gargantuan HIMSS conference is back at Las Vegas with over 40,000 participants, over a thousand exhibitors, and more than 600 presentations. As we saw last year in Orlando, more than half of the conference presentations are focused on applications based on open source such as FHIR and Blockchain, and a great emphasis on open solutions for interoperability. With so many presentations and exhibits, it is impossible to provide a full overview. Below are a few of some of the most interesting exhibits of open solutions this year.

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HIMSS19: Open Source Software for Disaster Preparedness and Response [Updated 2/14]

Although not officially listed as a track at the HIMSS19 conference, there are a series of very important presentations on the use of open source software for disaster preparedness and response. This is a critical topic that we have covered extensively in Open Health News. As we detailed in this article, there was a major failure in being able to provide victims of Hurricane Harvey, as well as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria with access to their medical records. Few emergency medical responders could access their records either. The two success stories that came out of the hurricanes were two open source electronic health record (EHR) systems, OpenEMR and the VA's open source VistA EHR.

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How A Low-Income San Francisco Neighborhood Is Building A Culture Of Disaster Preparedness

Justin Gerdes | The Atlantic Cities | May 7, 2014

...During the last big quake to rattle the San Francisco Bay area in 1989, Hodge was the manager of a local Kmart store across the bay in the town of Fremont. He made sure that his store was one of the first in the area to re-open after the quake, distributing much-needed supplies to the community...

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Humetrix Demonstrates DIRECT and Mobile Enabled Provider-to-Patient EHR Exchange for Interoperability with the Cerner EHR at Health 2.0 Fall Conference

Press Release | Humetrix | October 1, 2017

At the Health 2.0 Fall Conference Humetrix will demo its suite of apps; iBlueButton, SOS QR, and Tensio at booth #308. On October 3, Humetrix and Cerner will participate in a session entitled “Breaking Down the Silos” taking place at 11:20 a.m. During the session, Humetrix will demo the award-winning mobile health platform, iBlueButton, which enables patients to immediately receive, at any point of care, their summary health record from any federally certified EHR system using the DIRECT secure messaging protocol.

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Humetrix Demos SOS QR Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Mobile Platform at FCC Accessibility Innovations Expo

Press Release | Humetrix | October 20, 2017

Humetrix, developer of the award-winning SOS QR emergency mobile platform, last year’s recipient of the FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancements in Accessibility (AAA), is honored to participate in this year’s FCC Accessibility Innovation Expo taking place on October 23 in Washington, DC. The Humetrix SOS QR technology has won multiple innovation awards since its first launch in 2014 being recognized by the White House as an innovative technology for disaster preparedness, winning the NHS TestBed competition last year, and the 2016 FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility.

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