Bridging information gaps: The path to optimal care for medically vulnerable populations following large-scale public health emergencies

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Abstract

Medically vulnerable individuals such as the frail elderly and the chronically ill are at particular risk of experiencing adverse health outcomes especially during and following emergencies. In crisis situations the healthcare system is expected to be overwhelmed by an influx of casualties while also facing a shortfall of resources, impeding its ability to maintain continuity of care for frail individuals. This study identified potential gaps in the interface between vulnerable individuals' needs following emergencies, and local healthcare and municipal resources and plans to meet them. In order to bridge these gaps and improve response capacity, an information sharing model linking local institutions was constructed using a GIS-based tool. The model offers a rapid and efficient framework for managing data flow regarding the location and needs of vulnerable populations, enabling a proactive approach in post-disaster care and implementation of targeted relief tasks. Additionally, it can serve as a tool for decision makers in emergency planning and for resource control and allocation. Maintaining continuity of care for vulnerable individuals is a universal concern; the suggested model can be adapted by communities around the world in order to ensure the welfare and safety of vulnerable individuals in times of crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101319
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume41
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Emergency response
  • Geographical information systems
  • Information sharing
  • Medically vulnerable populations

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