IOM: Electronic Systems Can Help Facilitate Care During Natural Disasters


Public health officials can use electronic interventions to provide care to large groups of people during natural disasters, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine, Modern Healthcare reports (Barr, Modern Healthcare, 3/22).

About the Report

The report -- which is the second phase of a study to develop crisis standards after the H1N1 outbreak -- recommends using a systems-based approach to allocate resources and deliver care during widespread disease outbreaks, earthquakes and other catastrophes.

The report offers a framework for action plans during such events and provides detailed standards for different organizational groups (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 3/21).

Lawrence Gostin -- chair of the IOM report committee and associate dean and a professor of global health law at Georgetown University Law Center -- said that during a major disaster, "[h]ealth professionals can bring the best care to the most people by using a systems approach that involves thoughtful coordination among all stakeholders and good planning and coordination among all levels of government" (Preidt, HealthDay, 3/21).

Using Electronic Interventions

The report noted that electronic interventions were successfully implemented in several regions to provide early antiviral treatment during the H1N1 outbreak.

The authors wrote that telehealth technology can help health care providers treat at-risk individuals "rapidly and without face-to-face encounters."

The report also noted that social media provides "a largely uncharted opportunity" to "facilitate national resilience" during disasters and build a sense that "we are in this together" (Modern Healthcare, 3/22).

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