The secondary effects of natural disasters

July 27th, 2012 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Information Management
The secondary effects of natural disasters

In May of 2011, Joplin, Missouri witnessed a EF-4 tornado that killed 116 people, making it the most deadly single tornado in more than 60 years in the United States. The effects were instantaneous and disastrous – homes were demolished, families were torn apart and a state of emergency was placed over Missouri as emergency workers attempted to free people from the wreckage, according to ABC News.

A year later, the town of Joplin is starting to come back to normal, but secondary problems are arising from the disaster. Issues such as lost and dispersed paperwork, for example, can have a negative effect on future patients.

Citizens find themselves having to retake tests and doctors are performing duplicate examinations in order to get the information back up to date.

One of the hardest hit hospitals in the area, St. John's Regional Medical Center, where five patients died during the tragedy, is still trying to recoup from the devastation. The hospitals documents, however, were untouched because of its information management system, which digitized and backed up all records, according to Mercy.net.

"Our electronic health record contains all of the records of our patients before the storm. We don't have to worry about losing a paper chart or having it damaged by water or rain," said Dr. Bob Dodson, who helped set up a temporary hospital across from St. Johns.

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