How do you take your daily medicine if you cant remember what prescriptions you have? Thats the situation facing many Katrina evacuees with chronic conditions, who now have no record of what drugs they were taking before they fled their homes.
Close to a million people displaced by Hurricane Katrina now lack medical records.
The federal government is working to create a common database of prescription drug records from large retail pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers and government sponsored health plans.
According to the Washington Post, prescription drug records for more than 800,000 people are now available to doctors working to treat evacuees. But these cannot be modified to reflect current care, nor do they contain vital information about patients conditions.
Katrina powerfully demonstrates the nations need for electronic health records, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt told The Associated Press on Monday.
Theres already a working example. All of the 38,000 veterans who received care at the New Orleans VA Medical Center had their clinical information stored on a computerized system. Those records are now available to any VA physician at any VA hospital nationwide.