Author(s): Jafar AJ, Norton I, Lecky F, Redmond AD
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Medical records are a tenet of good medical practice and provide one method of communicating individual follow-up arrangements, informing research data, and documenting medical intervention. METHODS: The objective of this review was to look at one source (the published literature) of medical records used by foreign medical teams (FMTs) in sudden onset disasters (SODs). The published literature was searched systematically for evidence of what medical records have been used by FMTs in SODs. Findings The style and content of medical records kept by FMTs in SODs varied widely according to the published literature. Similarly, there was great variability in practice as to what happens to the record and/or the data from the record following its use during a patient encounter. However, there was a paucity of published work comprehensively detailing the exact content of records used. Interpretation Without standardization of the content of medical records kept by FMTs in SODs, it is difficult to ensure robust follow-up arrangements are documented. This may hinder communication between different FMTs and local medical teams (LMTs)/other FMTs who may then need to provide follow-up care for an individual. Furthermore, without a standard method of reporting data, there is an inaccurate picture of the work carried out. Therefore, there is not a solid evidence base for improving the quality of future response to SODs. Further research targeting FMTs and LMTs directly is essential to inform any development of an internationally agreed minimum data set (MDS), for both recording and reporting, in order that FMTs can reach the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for FMT practice.
This article was published in Prehosp Disaster Med
and referenced in Biology and Medicine