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Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Nov;11(11):1229-36.

Information technology and emergency medical care during disasters.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, UC San Diego Medical Center, 200 West Arbor Drive #8676, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.


Disaster response to mass-casualty incidents represents one of the greatest challenges to a community's emergency response system. Rescuers, field medical personnel, and regional emergency departments and hospitals must often provide care to large numbers of casualties in a setting of limited resources, inadequate communication, misinformation, damaged infrastructure, and great personal risk. Emergency care providers and incident managers attempt to procure and coordinate resources and personnel, often with inaccurate data regarding the true nature of the incident, needs, and ongoing response. In this chaotic environment, new technologies in communications, the Internet, computer miniaturization, and advanced "smart devices" have the potential to vastly improve the emergency medical response to such mass-casualty incident disasters. In particular, next-generation wireless Internet and geopositioning technologies may have the greatest impact on improving communications, information management, and overall disaster response and emergency medical care. These technologies have applications in terms of enhancing mass-casualty field care, provider safety, field incident command, resource management, informatics support, and regional emergency department and hospital care of disaster victims.

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