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Subject: Experience with Sandy Hospitals tracking

Hi Darrell/all--

Here's some further information I wanted to share with the EDXL-HAVE committee some of our experiences in standing up a site to track hospitals and medical facilities statuses in the post-Hurricane Sandy northeast.  This request came to us from David Black at Crisis Commons, based on a request out of the White House, as Darrell referred to yesterday.

Our site is live at http://sandy.sahanafoundation.org but not yet public pending WH approval, so only registered users can get access to the site.  I'd be glad to approve any requests from committee members so you can explore the site.

The site is based on the Sahana Eden Hospital Management System registry that we deployed during the Haiti Earthquake response and is based on the HAVE 1.0 specification.  We have not implemented any of HAVE 2.0 pending the finalization of the specification and some use case demand.

But some of the following may be valuable validation for the work being done on the EDXL-HAVE 2.0 specification or areas for discussion:

  • We needed to track not only Hospitals - but also other types of medical facilities - especially Long-Term Care facilities.  
    • (In the context of our work for an EU-project - we've also had a request for tracking pharmacies - which in other countries, provide more medical services than in common in the US (such as providing triage medical services and direct dispensing of prescription medications;)
    • These types of facilities are critical parts of the public health infrastructure so practically, we are going to see applications (such as Sahana Eden) which need to expand beyond "hospitals".
    • New York City shelters also provide medical services to individuals not requiring hospitalization - and may be added to this site as such.
  • We needed to track source of electrical power supply - whether from mains, generators, or none (or other).
  • Other utilities that may be critical for facilities include gas and steam supply.
  • We needed to track whether service disruption was caused by flood damage or from power outages.
  • We needed to track statuses: open, compromised, evacuating, destroyed, as well as planned dates of re-occupation, re-opening for those facilities temporarily closed.
  • The information and information requests come in waves.  It starts very generally:
    • Name and location
    • Open or closed / Status
    • Type of Damage Sustained / Power availability
    • Services (all/some/none) - not yet granular - when we find that a hospital offers all services they normally do, that doesn't mean we know what services they normally offer.
    • Beds (total beds - generally - not by service and not available)
  • So eventually, you get a complete picture of a facility, but there are many interim steps to get there.  
  • Without getting a real-time feed on hospital services and patient load from hospital systems directly, it's going to be difficult to ever get an accurate picture of availability.  The challenge of course is keeping it up to date.  A hospital/facility which is compromised and offering limited services last week may be fully restored and operational this week.  We are finding it takes a lot of manual volunteer time and phone banking to try to get updates entered so the data set continues to be valuable.  Obviously, we'd love to live in a better world where these come to us automatically, but we aren't there yet, so we have to work with what we have.
  • Political challenges in getting information from official sources - even where public.

I've copied Fran Boon and Dominic Konig from our Sahana Eden team who have done the development work and support for this system.  Dominic is the chief architect of our Hospital Management System; he's also one of our representatives to Oasis, but I don't think he's joined the HAVE SC yet.

Best regards,


Mark Prutsalis
President & CEO
Sahana Software Foundation
tel +1-860-499-0332

* * * * *

The Mission of the Sahana Software Foundation is to help alleviate human suffering by giving emergency managers, disaster response professionals and communities access to the information that they need to better prepare for and respond to disaster through the development and promotion of free and open source software and open standards.

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