A top Louisiana health official spoke in Washington on May 16 about the challenges of rebuilding the state’s health care infrastructure in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the ways information technology helped officials after the storm. At the annual meeting of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, Fred Cerise, M.D., secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, said the health care communities of New Orleans and other storm-ravaged areas are struggling to treat a high volume of uninsured patients with a smaller number of hospitals and clinicians.
The greatest challenge has been the delivery of care to patients with chronic disease and a continual need for medications, he said. Cerise noted that in the days following Katrina, officials were greatly aided in their efforts to coordinate care for victims by a state immunization registry for children, a state electronic disease surveillance registry, and by katrinahealth.org, which was a database of residents’ medication histories that was quickly organized by public and private parties.
[ via AHA News ]