Mobile EHR pilot in Haiti aims to develop standard

By Brian Dolan
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Steven-Lane-M.D.Dr. Steven Lane is part of a volunteer group of medical workers that is helping to create an international standard for health IT in disaster situations -- his team has piloted the iChart mobile EHR program on the iPhone. Ever since the earthquake in Haiti, his group has sent a teams of volunteers every three weeks -- the most recent trip to Haiti began earlier this month. Dr. Lane is also a Family Medicine Physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the EHR Ambulatory Physician Director at Sutter Health.

Here's a passage from his experience piloting the iChart in Haiti:

"We reached out to friends and colleagues who worked in medical informatics and received a number of offers of help including donated hardware, software and custom development to provide an application that would meet our needs. At the same time we learned of the work of the Harvard Operational Medicine Institute (OMI) that was working with the United Nations to pilot a number of mobile EMR applications in hopes of establishing an international standard for the use of health information technology in disaster relief situations. The Harvard group had determined that the most ubiquitous technology amongst health care workers providing disaster relief in Haiti was the Apple iPhone and that standard mobile phone technology would provide the most reliable connectivity between providers. They quickly reviewed the available applications and decided to try to use one called iChart, developed initially by an internist in Los Angeles. The volunteer medical team working at an impromptu field hospital near the Haiti-Dominican Republic border had begun using the iChart application with some success. Due to the nature of disaster relief they were not using the EMR application in the way it had been designed, but rather were redefining existing data fields to allow for the rapid entry of key demographic and clinical information."

Read Dr. Lane's full account here or watch the video below