Disaster Births A Network - InformationWeek

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Disaster Births A Network

Long considered an IT laggard, the health-care industry is banding together to help Hurricane Katrina victims by creating a data network that facilitates secure Web access to evacuees' prescription drug histories by authorized doctors and pharmacists nationwide.

An estimated 40% or more of the 1 million Katrina evacuees were taking prescription medications before the disaster. "Many of [their medical] records have been literally washed away," said Dr. Carol Diamond, managing director of the health-care program at the Markle Foundation, one of the nonprofit organizations contributing resources to KatrinaHealth.org, during a teleconference about the new service. Among those providing data for the service are pharmacy benefit-management companies and retail pharmacy chains, as well as government bodies.

With Hurricane Rita coming--at press time, it was expected to hit land over the weekend--discussions were under way in those states about how the new network might help people affected by that storm.

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