On April 14, 2016, a strong earthquake occurred in Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan. Many buildings, including hospitals, collapsed and utilities were disrupted by the main shock and aftershocks. DRI Japan worked with Osaka University researchers to find out how well information can travel to the major hospitals in the region during such a chaotic event.
Japan is an earthquake-prone country – in fact, there is a very high probability that a quake of magnitude 8 or greater will occur in the next 30 years. This is why drills are so important to organizations in the region. In particular, for hospitals, who are often called upon to perform emergency triage during such disasters.
To find out more, DRI Japan and researchers at Osaka University sent a questionnaire about the conditions for sharing and collecting information during the earthquake to top information managers at four major hospitals in Kumamoto city.
The primary results:
- Information on the damage situation of the building and human resources was quickly collected and was transferred to the information managers of the hospital – within 30 minutes at three hospitals, and within 60 at the fourth
- It was difficult to gather information on changing patient situations – such as outpatient after triage or patients transferred from other hospitals – and the status of staff members and their assignments, and
- To achieve medical service continuity, it is important to collect and share information effectively, and is necessary to make effective use of the information collection system and device.
However, there is some encouraging news on the horizon for collecting more accurate patient information: electronic triage tags are being developed, and progress is being made on a unified triage management system.