INTELLIGENCE IN ACTION

How to Prepare for the Perfect Storm: Hurricane Season and COVID-19

What’s being predicted as a hurricane season with above-normal activity by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is upon us, only this year, we’re also battling a new storm named COVID-19. With 13 to 19 named storms possible, six to 10 are predicted to be hurricanes and three to six could be major.

Remember hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria? Just a few years ago each brought widespread damage to Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean and displaced three million people, according to the non-profit Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Now, add to that the complications and challenges of the coronavirus and we’ve got ourselves a perfect storm.

The good news? Healthcare professionals and the technology vendors who support them can take steps to prepare.

As we prepare for the 2020 hurricane season, we encourage you to get familiar with our emergency response action plan, which outlines how pharmacy and health technology vendors can help providers treat patients impacted by natural disasters and other emergencies. For instance:

  • Pharmacy vendors and pharmacy systems should update their pharmacy records daily for inclusion in electronic health record (EHR) downloads
  • EHR/health tech vendors and health systems should to ensure their pharmacy file is downloaded daily and promptly available to providers

Prescribers can use medication history, which has proved to be a life-saving resource when working with displaced patients without access to medical records or regular care settings. 

While the combination of hurricane season and the global pandemic may prove to be a very challenging time, proactive preparation — and the right technology — can help weather the storm.

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