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Getting medical info digitally in a disaster — how one SAMMIES finalist made it happen

When disasters strike — think hurricanes, wildfires or terrorists attacks– and you are in need of medical care, Dr. Herman Allen Dobbs is the guy to call.

As the Chief Medical officer for the National Disaster Medical Systems at the Department of Health and Human Services, Dobbs worked to significantly improve the way disaster victims receive heathcare.

He created an electronic system to track those receiving treatment and assign emergency medical teams to assess emerging threats. That work has made him a Service to America Medal Finalist. The Oscars for feds.

He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program what exactly the National Disaster Medical System does.
“We have unique challenges. Logistics for providing healthcare are very different. We are always there at the request of a State or Country so we have to integrate with local providers and entities,” said Dobbs.

Why go digital? When Katrina hit the National Disaster Medical Systems faced 164,000 paper patient records. “We have little patient continuity. Trying to find patient records in the middle of a disaster is a disaster itself,” said Dobb, “we wanted real time information.”

In Haiti:National Disaster Medical Systems deployed electronic healthcare systems via satellites. “In real times we knew the types of injuries, age distribution, we knew the medical resources we would need. We could save lives in the short term and long term,” said Dobbs.

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