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TECH/POLICY: Things to think about in Katrina’s aftermath

Here’s my FierceHealthcare editorial today:

In Katrina’s wake the inquests are beginning after the tragic failure to get help to where it was needed, especially in New Orleans. For healthcare organizations there are some immediate lessons, wherever in the country (or world) you might be. What is your disaster plan, and is it good enough to sustain you for several days in a potentially lawless environment, with no outside power or supplies? And do you have an evacuation plan for patients and staff? Obviously this matters most for hospitals, but given that all paper records and many computer systems have been destroyed, all healthcare organizations — no matter what size — need to make sure that their data is electronically backed up, redundantly, somewhere far away from them. If your vital data isn’t electronic, now is the time to make it so. Finally as a nation, we need to find a way to guarantee health care insurance and access to everyone displaced, and the best way to do that would be to guarantee it to everyone in America. –

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