The number of natural disasters the world has experienced has steadily increased over recent years, both in terms of volume and impact. According to the World Health Organization, every year natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires affect nearly 160 million people worldwide. Disaster preparedness is critical to ensuring human safety in the face of unpredictable events, which requires reliable access to patient health records. This is why Alabama One Health Record relies on InterSystems, a global leader in information technology platforms for health, business, and government applications, to power Alabama’s statewide health information exchange (HIE).
Alabama One Health Record® is the State HIE in Alabama, covering 323 locations, 14 hospitals, and nearly three million lives. Its goal is to improve care coordination and patient access to health information, particularly for those living in rural areas. In the past year, Alabama One Health Record has used all the core services within the HealthShare product suite, including Unified Care Record, Patient Index, Health Connect, and Health Insight to help accomplish these goals.
One purpose of Alabama’s HIE is to assist with recovery efforts in the form of patient tracking during and after natural disasters. For instance, when Hurricane Michael made landfall in October 2018, Alabama One Health quickly helped locate missing patients who were evacuated or had fled from Florida to neighboring states to seek medical care, and as a result of these efforts, 32 high-risk patients who were connected to Alabama facilities were located.
In addition, the HIE worked with the Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange (GRAChIE) to link networks to neighboring states in the event the hurricane impacted patients in Georgia.
Alabama One Health has leveraged its experience from Hurricane Michael to become more closely connected with the state and local emergency management groups, and is now striving to be a more integral part of future emergency planning, whether for hurricanes, tornadoes, or other natural disasters and emergencies.
“With InterSystems HealthShare, we demonstrated the value that HIEs have in recovery efforts surrounding natural disasters,” said Gary Parker, Director of Alabama One Health Record®. “We are working closely with InterSystems to expand our reach and pilot new use cases to further improve patient care in Alabama and accommodate the additional hospitals and patients that are in line to be connected through our system this year.”
Alabama One Health Record® is in the midst of expanding its recovery services by providing first responders with access to the HIE, enabling them to see the patient’s Unified Care Record while in the field and deliver more timely and accurate information while en route to the Emergency Department’s EHR. Enabling access to a patient’s holistic health record enables first responders to better respond to who may be suffering from substance abuse or behavioral health problems, and ensure they administer the appropriate care.
“Alabama One Health Record® has proven that with the right technological support, healthcare organizations can ensure patient safety and save lives, even in the face of record-breaking natural disasters,” said Don Woodlock, VP of HealthShare. “We are eager to expand our relationship with Alabama One Health Record® and continue to support their preparedness efforts as we head into another hurricane season.”
For more information about the HealthShare product suite, visit https://www.intersystems.com/products/healthshare/.
InterSystems is the information engine that powers some of the world’s most important applications. In healthcare, finance, government, and other sectors where lives and livelihoods are at stake, InterSystems has been a strategic technology provider since 1978. InterSystems is a privately held company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), with offices worldwide, and its software products are used daily by millions of people in more than 80 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.intersystems.com/.