Defense Department Developing Electronic Communication Network To Connect Bay Area Health Officials
The Department of Defense is developing an electronic communication network that initially will connect health officials in 10 Bay Area counties though the Western Disaster Center as part of an effort to better coordinate emergency responses and improve information sharing, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports. The system uses dedicated computers for health officials to communicate during a natural disaster or other situation where normal communication is disrupted. Health officials also will be able to use the network for video conferencing, instant messaging, confidential patient data sharing and faster remote patient diagnosis. California health officials and hospitals currently use the Internet, pagers, faxes and the telephone to communicate, according to Roger Rosenberg, project manager for the Health Officers Association of California. "This project is necessary because our current system doesn't work real well," Rosenberg said, adding, "The state has been incapable of getting information out to counties in a timely manner." The project will expand to include health officials in all 58 California counties over the next several years, according to Rich Davies, president and chair of the WDC. Davies said that the ultimate goal of the project is to develop and connect similar networks in all states, territories and Washington, D.C. (Hamm, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 11/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.