The recent flood emergencies in NSW and Queensland left many people in dire need of medications but no access to their prescriptions or medical records.
Now, with predictions that natural disasters, including bushfires and cyclones, are expected to occur more frequently, pharmacies can prepare by implementing software that allows them to access their customers’ health information in the cloud.
In a great leap forward, Extensia integrates into the pharmacy to provide easy and secure visibility of their customers’ medical records, prescriptions, test results and more across the care journey.
In a crisis, and with customers’ permission, Extensia gives pharmacists access to the information they need to see from aged care facilities, GPs, hospitals, pathologists, radiologists, allied health providers, and social services. It even connects with mobile and wearable devices.
“We have had our server and our backup server go underwater as well. So we’re currently making urgent contact with IT to see if there’s any way of finding our records. But it’s unlikely that even if it can be salvaged, it will be accessible in any reasonable sort of timeframe,” Dr Blandford said.
Local health workers set up an emergency clinic to help the flood-affected community with urgent healthcare needs, but some residents had fled rising waters without their medications or prescriptions.
“We had patients without Medicare cards who didn’t know what medications they were on but who were needing access to them,” Dr Blandford said.
Writing in The Conversation, Dr Sabrina Pit, a health researcher who works with the NSW Rural Doctors Network, gave advice on how to prepare for an emergency for those who need medication “to stay alive and healthy or keep pain at manageable levels”.
“When preparing your evacuation plan, ensure you have a list of all your medicines, care plans, scripts, Medicare and other healthcare cards details and other important medical information ready,” Dr Pit wrote.
“If you’re flood affected, in need of medicines and can get yourself to a pharmacy, it may be OK even if you have lost your scripts in the floods. The pharmacist may be able to call the GP on their mobile.
Extensia’s RecordPoint platform can eliminate concerns for people in an emergency and give pharmacists fast access to the medications customers have been prescribed.
Under non-emergency conditions, RecordPoint’s unique view into systems across the health ecosystem can provide information on vaccinations, test results, hospitalisations and other health indicators.
Increasing pharmacists’ understanding of their customers’ health and care needs provides opportunities to expand the help provided and build on one of the most trusted relationships in the community.
But during the flooding, RecordPoint’s use case was clear – and critical – as hundreds of patients were unable to access their usual GPs and pharmacies due to evacuations and disruption to services, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Health workers on the ground said maintaining ordinary healthcare services was the immediate concern.
In the imminent future, they expected the pressure to be compounded by diseases caused by mosquito bites, fungal infections and human waste in water, as well as an increased demand for increased mental health support – much of which would require medication.