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Electronic Medical Records Are Critically Important in Natural Disaster Situations


Posted on December 26, 2014

A natural disaster can destroy a building and physical copies of medical records, but not an electronic medical record system.

Electronic Medical Records Are Vital in Natural DisastersElectronic medical record systems (EMR) provide many benefits to their users that paper charts simply cannot. One of the main benefits provided by EMRs is the ability to recover patient records quickly in the event of a natural disaster such as a flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane, or tornado. If your physician does not maintain electronic medical records, take matters into your own hands by requesting a digital copy of your records through Order Medical Records (OMR).

How Electronic Medical Records Made a Difference in Joplin

When the city of Joplin, Missouri was devastated by a tornado in May of 2011, an electronic medical record system made a huge difference in people’s lives. Prior to the storm, the local hospital, St. John’s Mercy, had recently converted to electronic health records and many members of the staff and the local community were not convinced that the switch was necessary or beneficial. Some nurses, like Dottie Bringle, feared that the new system would be difficult to understand and work with and would slow down patient care. However, their minds were quickly changed by the tornado and the aftermath that it left behind.

The hospital was completely destroyed by the tornado, but because the patient records were stored in an electronic format and backed up on offsite servers, no vital health information was lost. In the aftermath of the tornado, Bringle and other workers were able to access the patient records from a makeshift command center set up in the local auditorium. They quickly accounted for all of the current hospital patients and began administering the necessary care to them. They were also able to forward patient medical records to neighboring hospitals so that the roughly 1,150 people injured in the storm could receive proper care. If the hospital had not switched over to an EMR system, all of these patients’ critical health care information would have been lost forever. Properly treating patients who were injured by the terrible tornado would have been nearly impossible because without their records, doctors would have had no idea what these patients were allergic to or any other important health information. There is no doubt that the EMR system used by St. John’s Mercy hospital helped save lives.

Get Access to Your Electronic Medical Record Today

Even if your physician does not utilize electronic medical record systems, you can still benefit from the advantages that they provide by securing your own electronic copy of your medical records. Simply place a request with OMR and we will retrieve a copy of your medical records from your doctor and digitize them for you. We use high-tech scanning equipment and a rigorous quality control process to do this, so you can rest assured that your electronic medical records will be accurate, legible, and useful. We will then transfer the file to you via a secure online download or by shipping you a CD or secure flash drive via FedEx. In order to minimize the risk of your new electronic medical record being lost in a natural disaster, we advise that you store a copy in “the cloud” as well as on the hard drive of your computer. Services such as Google Drive can provide cloud storage for free. Contact or call us today so you can make sure that your important medical information will be protected from any form of natural disaster.

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