The Security Scrutinizer with Howard Anderson

EHRs and Disaster Preparedness

Tornado Aftermath Illustrates Value of EHRs

In a new blog, Farzad Mostashari, who heads the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, points out that for healthcare providers, EHRs can be a vital component of disaster recovery. Plus, they can be far more secure than paper records when a storm hits.

For example, when St. John's Regional Medical Center was heavily damaged, many paper records and X-rays were lost, Mostashari notes. But within six days of the tornado, hospital staff members were treating patients in a mobile medical unit with full access to their electronic health records.

The bottom line is that EHRs proved to be more accessible in times of crisis as well as more secure and confidential. 

Mostashari, who oversees the HITECH Act EHR incentive program, notes that paper records from the hospital were found as far as 75 miles away. To help ensure privacy the hospital is asking anyone who finds records to return them. Let's hope they do.

"The bottom line is that EHRs proved to be more accessible in times of crisis as well as more secure and confidential," Mostashari contends.

His blog is well worth reading - and worth sharing with those who doubt the value of an EHR.

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

Former News Editor, ISMG

Anderson was news editor of Information Security Media Group and founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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