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How Your Medical Records Remain Secure During Natural Disasters

September 12th, 2017 - By Matt Garnese

During natural disasters healthcare demands are much higher, the ability to treat patients quickly is key to meeting these demands. Determining the best course of medical action in a timely fashion requires secure and reliable access to patient records such as allergies and medications.

Using Electronic Health Records (EHR) software, you can be sure that your medical records are protected from damage or loss during a disaster situation. Whether your area has been affected by the recent natural disasters, your patient records and charts will remain secure and accessible in the EHR.

Hurricane Harvey’s Impact Reduced by Electronic Health Records

The widespread adoption of EHR software has provided a major boost to health care efforts in response to Hurricane Harvey. Several hospitals in the Houston area, including St. Luke’s Hospital and Bayshore Medical Center, have had to evacuate, relying on outside providers’ assistance to shoulder the heavy workload.

During the evacuation of more than 200 residents from a Corpus Christi-based state-supported living center (SSLC), functional EHR software was instrumental to the successful transfer. Several of the SSLCs in the area had recently made the transition to EHR from a pen and paper system only one year ago.

In a recent article by Bloomberg BNA, Dr. J. Steven Walker of Corpus Christi Medical Associates recounted how his EHR helped protect his practice from data loss during a power outage: “Even in the unfortunate case of a total loss of our physical facility, which thankfully didn’t happen, we could plug into any location with remote backup and resume normal operations fairly quickly.”

Cloud-based EHR Keeps Your Data Accessible, Anywhere, Anytime

EHR Software delivers the option of a local server or public cloud storage to keep your data secure. In the event of flooding, power loss, or any other situation associated with natural disasters, the cloud is the most efficient way to store that data, because it makes your medical records accessible from any location.

As in the above example, if a natural disaster makes the physical clinic inaccessible, you can perform login to the EHR software from a new location and continue to gain access to patient records and charts. This enables you to continue to see patients and have their records available in a more favorable area.

The Push for Interoperability for Greater Protection

Moving forward, there should be even deeper levels of protection available to ensure that data can be transferred among different medical facilities securely nationwide. Interoperability between EHR systems is key to ensuring that during a natural disaster, no matter where your clinic is located, it can connect with another clinic’s EHR and share charts and patient records in a safe, efficient manner.

As you continue to provide care patients in your area during these stressful times, you can remain confident that you will continue to have access to your medical records in order to deliver care to as many patients as possible.


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