“Katrina will likely be recorded as the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.”
— U.S. National Hurricane Center
KatrinaHealth was an online service that was established to help individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina work with their health professionals to gain access to their own electronic prescription medication records. Through a single portal, KatrinaHealth.org, authorized pharmacists and doctors were able to get records of medications evacuees were using before the storm hit, including the specific dosages. Having this information helped evacuees renew their medications, and helped healthcare professionals avoid harmful prescription errors and coordinate care. With the assistance of federal, state, and local governments, KatrinaHealth was made possible by a national foundation, several private businesses, and national organizations of physicians and other health professionals.
This report is based largely on the proceedings of a meeting of principals involved in KatrinaHealth that was held by the Markle Foundation on November 18, 2005. It contains the following topics: a description of the storm and its impact, the primary hurdles KatrinaHealth faced, concerns about national disaster response, the context for disaster response, details of the KatrinaHealth story, and set of recommendations in anticipation of future disasters.