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Report Outlines Approach for Secure Online Access to Patient Prescription Records in Time of Disaster

Collaboration is essential to ensure life-saving information is available to patients and those who treat them anywhere in the country.

With the nation bracing for the 2006 hurricane season, the Markle Foundation today released Lessons from KatrinaHealth, a report outlining lessons learned in posting secure, online information about prescription drug histories of Katrina evacuees in the aftermath of last summer's disaster.

"Although it is impossible to be fully prepared for a national disaster, lessons were learned during Katrina that can help ensure that patients' medication histories remain accessible in a private and secure manner in the wake of a disaster," said Zoe Baird president of the Markle Foundation, one of the organizations that led last autumn's KatrinaHealth initiative. "It is critical that government and private sector leaders work together to put systems, technologies, and policies in place to ensure that this life-saving information is securely, privately, and readily available to patients and those who treat them anywhere in the country."

In the days following Hurricane Katrina's landfall near New Orleans last August, a group of private and public health and information technology experts created, an online service for authorized health professionals. The Web site provided access to evacuees' medication information in order to renew prescriptions, prescribe new medications, and coordinate care.