Health IT systems worked as intended during Hurricane Harvey

The 2009 HITECH Act was conceived, in part, when paper medical records were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. The electronic health records and technology implemented since that 2005 storm did their job in Houston as the city endured massive flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.

Hospitals like the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas Children’s and Houston Methodist told POLITICO their EHRs and technology “functioned without pause” during the storm. Texas Children’s survived a close call, with sandbags keeping water from reaching the hospital’s communication closet.

“We are doing well,” said health IT researcher Hardeep Singh, who was working at Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center during the storm. “Only thing needed is food for residents and I'm about to go pick up some pizza for them from the only shop we found open.”

The more difficult test will be using IT to manage the health of patients whose lives have been impacted by the storm.

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