Science

Harvey Evacuees Leave Behind Their Belongings and Their Health Records

Digitizing the world’s medical records was supposed to make doctors’ lives easier and patients’ lives longer. But unlike banking and shopping, medicine has had a rough time transitioning to the new digital order. Because health care providers use different systems for their electronic health care records, it’s still difficult for a patient’s data to follow them through the medical ecosystem. Most of the time, siloed medical information is more of a nuisance than anything else. But when Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston, Texas, area last week, evacuations and rescue efforts forced patients to seek treatment anywhere they could. Most of the time access to their health records didn’t go with them. That information void can be almost as catastrophic as the catastrophe itself.

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