Technology Can Improve Disaster Response
Two simulated exercises were enacted in San Diego County on Tuesday to demonstrate how technology can help in disaster response, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The scenario in the simulated humanitarian crises, called Strong Angel III, was a global pandemic and a nationwide crash of wireless communications.
Dr. Eric Rasmussen, director of the event and a Navy physician, said Strong Angel III is a demonstration of how new computer technologies can improve response to a humanitarian crisis. The exercise began Monday and ends Saturday.
The second simulation, which is taking place at the University of California-San Diego tested, uses several new high-tech tools aimed at better managing emergency medical care in a disaster zone, the Union-Tribune reports. Tuesday's exercise included about 200 participants, such as emergency department physicians, nurses and technicians from UCSD Medical Center.
The tools being used during the simulation include:
- Electronic patient tags that record vital signs and broadcast patients' conditions to paramedics on the ground, a nearby command post and area hospitals;
- Handheld computers that paramedics use to enter information about the condition of patients and to track medications;
- Tablet personal computers used by supervisors in the field who serve as a bridge between paramedics and command center officials; and
- A computerized command center that tracks the locations of patients and emergency workers, guide first responders away from hazardous sites and directed the transfer of patients to area hospitals.
The office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense contributed $200,000 to the event, and equipment and in-kind donations are expected to total between $30 million and $35 million, Rasmussen said (Lierberman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/23). 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.