Statewide Computer Network Could Help Deal With Large-Scale Disasters
California has plans to link computer networks in its 58 counties, which could help medical personnel in the event of a large-scale disaster, the Contra Costa Times reports. There is currently no statewide system connecting the networks, and many county computer systems are incompatible.
A statewide network would make it easier to find extra hospital beds, medical supplies and personnel and would help counties survey their hospitals, according to the Times. Cheryl Starling, manager of California's bioterrorism program, said the state plans to use funds from a federal bioterrorism grant to link the computer networks.
State hospitals, county dispatchers and public health offices would first have to install the systems. The state then would install smaller versions of the computers in ambulances for paramedics to check which emergency departments can accept patients. If grant money is still available in 2007, the state would integrate the computers at hospitals, public health and emergency service agencies and ambulances to create a statewide network.
Despite its disparate systems, Starling said that California is prepared to communicate during disasters (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 9/7).