Using a Cloud-based Electronic Health RecordDuring Disaster Response: A Case Study inFukushima, March 2011

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First Review


Following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the Japan Medical Association deployed medical disaster teams to Shinchi-town (population: approximately 8,000), which is located 50 km north of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The mission of the medical disaster teams sent from Fukuoka, 1,400 km south of Fukushima, was to provide medical services and staff a temporary clinic for six weeks. Fear of radiation exposure restricted the use of large medical teams and local infrastructure. Therefore, small volunteer groups and a cloud-hosted, web-based electronic health record (EHR) were implemented. The mission was successfully completed by the end of May 2011. Cloud- based electronic health records deployed using a ‘‘software as a service’’ model worked well during the response to the large-scale disaster.[1]


Himeno Hospital created a web-based EHR in May of 2005. The team scanned approximately 600 paper medical records and inventoried supplies and assigned each patient a Medical Record Number. The medical personnel carried internet WiFi devices in the field that allowed them to use the web based EMR. The relief was provided by approximately 1000 people in 6 weeks.


The use of this system efficiently delivered care while appropriately managing the records. The implementation was low-bandwidth, low-cost and internet based which made it a success.


The could-based EHR was successfully used for the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster). The authors concluded that cloud-based EHRs will be beneficial for future emergency preparedness.


This article displays the potential benefits of cloud EHRs in emergency situations. It is an example of how the field of informatics is reaching people in need.

Second Review


  1. Nagata, T., Halamka, J., Himeno, S., Himeno, A., Kennochi, H., & Hashizume, M. (2013). Using a cloud-based electronic health record during disaster response: a case study in Fukushima, March 2011. Prehospital and disaster medicine, 28(04), 383-387..