[EpiData-list] epidata as relational database for disaster electronic medical record

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Mon Oct 31 17:34:49 CDT 2011

Hans and Louk, thank you for your interest, and Louk for your generous 
offer. I may be in touch with you by email directly. Yes, this would be 
something in preparation for the next flood/other disaster.

My thoughts are still very tentative, but what I envision is roughly:

1. A .rec file of evacuees.  As each evacuee arrives, they are undergo a 
brief interview by Health Department or Red Cross worker: basic 
demographics, name, address, birthdate, etc, date/time of arrival to the 
shelter, and then some screening medical/nursing questions to assess 
their needs. Evacuees with needs intense enough will get triaged to the 
"medical" section of the shelter, while others will get triaged to the 
"general population" part of the shelter. Besides just gathering data, 
Epidata could help with interactive prompts. For example, "Do you 
require oxygen?" If yes, Epidata flashes a message, "assign to medical 
shelter. Do you want to override?"  (Oxygen use is one of our criteria 
for being in the medical shelter.)

2. A RELATEd .rec file containing the names and doses of the evacuees 
medicines. This file, given to our supporting pharmacies, could be very 
useful: "Here's a list of all the meds we will need at the shelter." 
There would be a 1:many relationship between a record in the evacuee 
file (#1 above) and the records in this "medications" file.

3. Another RELATEd .rec file for "encounters," which are anything you do 
with an evacuee during their stay in the shelter: obtain and record 
vital signs, give a medicine, give some other treatment, send to the 
emergency department, etc.  Each would be date/time stamped, of course. 
There would be a 1:many relationship between a record in the evacuee 
file (#1 above) and the records in this "encounter" file.

Louk, there is no universal identifying number in the US. I would use 
pre-numbered wristbands; the number on the band would be the person's ID 
number while in the shelter, and we would put a matching wristband on 
them upon arrival and registration.

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.


Christopher W. Ryan, MD
SUNY Upstate Medical University Clinical Campus at Binghamton
425 Robinson Street, Binghamton, NY  13904

"Observation is a more powerful force than you could possibly reckon. 
The invisible, the overlooked, and the unobserved are the most in danger 
of reaching the end of the spectrum. They lose the last of their light. 
 From there, anything can happen . . ."  [God, in "Joan of Arcadia," 
episode entitled, "The Uncertainty Principle."]

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca wrote:
> Chris:
> The principles of a relational database in EpiData Entry are very simple
> and totally straight forward from the perspective of concept and from
> the grammar how to link two files.
> It gets a bit trickier in the EpiData Analysis part: the merging is
> simple, but the "reshuffling" from vertical to horizontal to go from
> visits with case information to cases with multiple visit information
> takes a bit more. If it comes to that, you may find the extensive
> documentation in our EpiData course on my web site (see link at the
> bottom) helpful. On the web site go to "EpiData course" in the
> navigation panel, and in the opening page look for Part D, Exercise 1
> and download the PDF files both of "Task" and "Solution".
> Hans
> On 20:59, epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca wrote:
>> Heemskerk 31/10/2011
>> Hello dr. Chris Ryan,
>> I have quite some experience in making relational databases in EPIDATA
>> 3.1, mainly in the
>> field of registering hospital infections.
>> .....
>> Yours, Louk Meertens MD, pediatrician (pensioner)
>> ===============================
>>> ......
>>> .......
>>> I'm brainstorming ideas, both paper and electronic. Does anyone have any
>>> experience using Epidata as a relational database, so as to serve as a
>>> simple lightweight electronic medical record during a disaster?
>>> Thanks.
>>> --Chris Ryan, MD

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