An analysis of the use of medical applications required for complex humanitarian disasters and emergencies via Hastily Formed Networks (HFN) in the field
Kelley, Sean William
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This thesis analyzes the feasibility, efficacy and usability of medical operations working in concert with a Fly-Away Kit (FLAK) and the forming of Hastily Formed Networks (HFNs) in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) operations. The initial focus of this research is on the requirements, situation, area of operations, and mission differences between nongovernmental organizations and governmental organizations. The thesis researches and discusses the possibilities for implementing medical technology in the field and the conditions and scenarios in HA/DR that may affect its success. This process will also define the requirements for medical operations as well as facilitate a methodology for ensuring those requirements are met. This thesis investigates the suitability of currently available COTS hardware and software components for medical operations. In addition, it includes a comprehensive review of the value of electronic medical records and telemedicine technologies. Virtually all organizations responding to the December 26, 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami did not have the benefit of large scale medical information technology. For example, the ability to ascertain the real extent of injuries due to the tsunami was hampered by the lack of a central database. Initial media reports claimed a death toll of over 300,000 people, when in fact hindsight now provides a more accurate tally of just over 200,000 dead. This disparity resulted from an archaic system of tracking and accounting. Undoubtedly, humanitarian medical organizations will greatly benefit from the implementation of medical information technology capabilities. This thesis lays the groundwork for further research into medical technologies that can be deployed in the field with humanitarian medical teams in the near future.
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