The 2019 hurricane season has arrived. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-normal season for the Pacific, with 5 to 8 tropical cyclones, and a near-normal one for the Atlantic, with the potential for 4 to 8 hurricanes.
Healthcare professionals need to be prepared. Let history be our guide.
Nearly two years ago, “monster” Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria brought widespread damage to Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, the United States Virgin Islands and across the Caribbean. These super storms also displaced three million people, according to the non-profit Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. People needed access to healthcare, amongst many other dire needs.
During that disastrous season, Surescripts and other industry partners stepped up to help connect healthcare providers to needed resources. And we provided guidance to patients, providers and technology vendors, so they could be ready when the next storm hit.
As we prepare for 2019’s storms, we encourage you to read and reference our hurricane preparedness checklist. The checklist specifically outlines steps pharmacy and health technology vendors should take to help providers treat patients impacted or displaced by national disaster:
- Pharmacy vendors need to update their pharmacy records daily for inclusion in electronic health record (EHR) downloads
- EHR and health tech vendors need to ensure their pharmacy file is downloaded daily and promptly available to providers
We also encourage prescribers to use medication history, which can prove critical when working with displaced patients without access to their medical records or regular care settings.
Let’s hope this season passes us by with mild winds and soft rain. As that’s not likely to be the case, an old adage comes to mind: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”