Health Information Systems and Disaster Management

Tragedies happen in the world and especially in the parts of the world where OpenMRS is used.  Two examples are the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti and 2013 Typhoon in the Philippines.

Topic: Health Information Systems and Disaster Management

University call on Dec 18, 2013 was held to discuss disaster management.

Attendees:  Alvin Marcelo (WHO office in Philippines), Roger Friedman, James Arbaugh, Paul Gardner-Stephen, Ellen Ball, Christine Ceblano, Patrick Sylim, Wyclif Luyima, Anica, Benutomo Rumondor, Dennis Batangan, esmeerdona80, Gilbert Mina, Henri, Hoang Quang Huy, Jeric Bayan, Raymond Sarmiento (NLM), Saptarshi, Terry Hanna, Viki Leomo, Vince Tumlos, Wayne, Wendel Marcelo, Winselle, Ezra Valido, Macgyver Yoingco, Badeia Jawhari


I.  Background
    A.  Haiyan Disaster in the Philippines (November 8, 2013) -- Hernani, Eastern Samar.pptx
    B.  Implication of the Disaster in the context of Health Informatics
    C.  The Need for Disaster Management

This is a related 2.5. minute video " Rural Health Unit in Mayorga, Leyte after Typhoon Haiyan" (with available English subtitle).  It was filmed immediately after the Haiyan tragedy with two of our NTHC staff -- Jonathan and Emmanuel.

II. Existing Resources for Disaster Management
    A.  Presentation of Serval Project (by: Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen
         1. Mobile telephone networks without relying on cellular infrastructure
         2. Encrypted text messaging, file transfer
         3. Automatic store and forward distribution for when end-to-end communications are not practical.
         4. Preliminary integration with ODK for structured data collection in the field, and automatic transfer over the mesh network.
         5. Potential to integrate with OpenMRS for field data collection with automatic encrypted store-and-forward transport of collected data whenever possible.  Best effort at delayed delivery.
         6. Possible to connect with internet/satellite backhaul where required
         7. Low-cost booster hardware (made from ~$20 wifi routers) to extend range and cache data.
         8. Software and hardware still experimental.  Everything is open-source.

More about Serval:
  • Use in Nigeria for human-rights.
  • Alvin says this should be used as a general practice and available before an emergency.
  • Serval software can be pre-installed on a few phones and then spread later at the time of a disaster.
  • Currently only working on Android phones
  • Airplane-mode, but then turn-on bluetooth and wifi.
V. Action items
  • Wiki page
  • Create a more robust system in a disaster prone area
    • Need communication lines (personnel didn't have access to 2-way radios;  phone and cell phones were not operational;  Sat phones available, but no one knew who had them)
    • Backup shelters (Tacloban astrodome was assigned shelter, but destroyed)
    • Transport (Ambulatory access only post-typhoon)
    • Handle worst scenario (Typhoon Haiyan was so much worse than anything that was expected)
    • Serious attention to evacuation (people didn't evacuate far enough; followed evacuation protocols, but could not handle storm surge)
    • Water purification
    • Solar system for emergency when power/electricity is not available
    • RxBox2 with 2-way radio, mobile devices with extended batteries, flashlights
    • Use of alternative energy sources (solar, wind, etc) as electricity source
    • Revisit Disaster preparedness and disaster mitigation plan/ protocol of local and national government
    • Information coordinator trying to organize all the data and reporting information for the ministry.  HIE would have made a better system for reporting these things.
  • Another University call to discuss best practices and collaborations (Sections III, IV not discussed during the 12/18 university call)

OpenMRS University (2013-12-18)