WHEN DISASTER STRIKES,
IS YOUR HEALTHCARE COMMUNITY READY?
After a major disaster, individuals can be displaced not only from their homes but also from their primary care providers and local hospitals. Sometimes they leave behind needed medications, and almost always lack pertinent medical records. Patients in affected regions may be referred to alternative care locations, and individuals who sustain injuries must be triaged and treated appropriately. Providers and first responders who are treating these individuals at field locations often work with incomplete medical information.
PULSE in the News
Praying they would make it out of there.
Healthcare interoperability can save lives and relieve stress in an emergency. Selfless professionals and volunteers during the California wildfires used PULSE to get prescription refills and other critical clinical information for evacuees. Politico profiled their experiences.
WHAT IS PULSE?
The Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies (PULSE) is a nationwide health IT disaster response platform that can be deployed at the city, county, or state level to authenticate disaster healthcare volunteer providers. PULSE allows disaster workers to query and view patient documents from all connected healthcare organizations.
National interoperability connectivity has reached a breadth and maturity where it can be leveraged in new ways, such as disaster response. PULSE is a public-private collaborative that includes HHS, ASPR, ONC and state agencies to support Americans in times of disaster.
CEO, Sequoia Project
WHO IS GUIDING PULSE?
California Emergency Medical Services Authority (CalEMSA)
California Association of Health Information Exchanges (CAHIE)
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)
Health and Human Services (HHS)
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC)
The Sequoia Project
POLITICO – November 21, 2018:
“California’s red-hot test of health information exchange”
Modern Healthcare – September 14, 2018
“As Hurricane Florence hits, health information exchanges fill in patient data gaps”
Health Data Management – April 9, 2018
“Sequoia Project starts program to share patient data during disasters”
WIRED – September 1, 2017
Harvey Evacuees Leave Their Belongings—and Health Records—Behind
Healthcare Informatics – May 23, 2017
“Audacious Inquiry’s Bold Goals for Health Information Exchange”
POLITICO – December 6, 2017
Morning eHealth Update
PULSE Evaluation Criteria
Never Miss a Beat
- PULSE was activated in November to support disaster response for the Northern California wildfires
- EMSA awards Ai the PULSE Operator contract
- PULSE goes live in July
- PULSE was activated in October to support disaster response for the Northern California wildfires
- PULSE was activated in December to support disaster response for the Southern California wildfires. Within one week, five organizations were rapidly onboarded to eHealth Exchange and connected to PULSE (Kaiser, Dignity, Sutter, CVS, Cottage, Providence)
- EMSA releases PULSE Development RFO
- EMSA awards Ai the PULSE Development contract
- The HHS Ideas Lab funds use case and technical architecture development of PULSE. Subsequently, the “Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies” report was published.
- ONC Engages Audacious Inquiry to evaluate use of HIE infrastructure for disaster preparedness and response. From this engagement, the “HIE Services in Support of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Medical Response” report was published.
- California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) holds its first HIE in EMS Summit.
History of PULSE
PULSE was originally conceived by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT following Hurricane Katrina. Well-meaning physicians and providers flocked to shelters to help, but there was an inability to confirm medical credentials of these volunteers or access health records of evacuees.
In late 2014, ONC and ASPR received a joint HHS Ventures award, through HHS’ innovative IDEA Lab, to lay the foundation for PULSE. The award provided for a PULSE program in California through the development of a detailed use case, technical architecture, and an evaluation of policy considerations.
Ultimately, PULSE can be made available in any geographic area to support healthcare professionals and first responders caring for displaced individuals, or volunteer healthcare workers who are deployed to a disaster area outside of their normal health IT environment.