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Practical Web Apps to Prepare EDs for Disasters

Practical Web Apps to Prepare EDs for Disasters

To help EDs prepare for major disasters, scientists at Johns Hopkins University’s National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER) have developed several web-based digital applications. These apps offer advanced research, training, and educational programs to address needs for planning and responding to these events. “It’s important to be able to handle different kinds of disasters, regardless of how big or small they may be,” says James Scheulen, PA, MBA, who is a PACER researcher. “The key is to have reliable, practical tools that are readily available. Such resources can help emergency planners, emergency preparedness departments, hospital leadership, and first responders respond quickly and efficiently.” EMCAPS 2.0 One of the new digital apps developed by PACER is an update to the Electronic Mass Casualty Assess­ment and Planning Scenarios program (EMCAPS 2.0). Developed by Scheulen and his team of researchers, EMCAPS 2.0 offers an improved, easy-to-use interface that allows users to estimate the number and type of casualties that could result from 11 different likely or potential disasters identified by the Department of Homeland Security. Scenarios that can be modeled in EMCAPS 2.0 include anthrax, improvised explosive devices, open-air explosions, food contaminations, blister agents (eg, mustard gas), nerve agents (eg, sarin), toxic gas releases, explosions on public transportation, nuclear device explosions, and pneumonic plagues and pandemics. EMCAPS 2.0 uses hazard vulnerability analyses to inform users about training and educational strategies for emergency preparedness, according to Scheulen. “The app is free to users and provides practical information on realistic disaster scenarios,” he says. “It helps EDs prepare for the influx of patients that these personnel will likely...
Guidance for Social Media Use in Emergency Medicine

Guidance for Social Media Use in Emergency Medicine

share content with other users. In addition to social networking websites like Facebook, other technologies continue to penetrate the market, including video and picture sharing sites, forums, blogs, and other tools. The social media boom has reached the healthcare community, with physicians from all backgrounds gravitating towards using these platforms for various purposes. Recent reports suggest that social media use among emergency medicine (EM) physicians is especially strong, most likely because they tend to embrace the healthcare side of this type of networking in ways not typically seen with other specialists. Some institutions have used social media to develop EM blogs and websites that cover daily practice issues. Others have used it to enhance emergency preparedness efforts. “Social media has become an important method of communication and information sharing in EM,” explains Malford T. Pillow, MD, MEd. “It offers the potential to create an attractive internet presence and brand specific programs, including EM residency programs.” Considering Risks & Negative Consequences of Social Media Social media offers tremendous benefits for recruiting, communication, and education, but it also carries legal, ethical, personal, and professional risks. Negative consequences of social media use include violating professional and personal boundaries, among other potential problems. “Even simple actions like ‘friending’ someone or posting something on Facebook can be misinterpreted,” says Dr. Pillow. “There needs to be deliberate, transparent policies in place that are designed to optimize the benefits of social media while minimizing risks.” Important Recommendations to Guide Social Media Use Guidance statements for social media use have been released by leaders in various medical fields. These documents are helpful for developing an overall structure...
The Immune System Explained: A Patient Education Video

The Immune System Explained: A Patient Education Video

For Healthcare Providers: The immune systems is an exceptionally complex system that is hard to grasp for most patients, and even many of your colleagues. Share this video with your patients to provide them with a simplified, yet quite informative, explanation of how the system works. For Patients: Every second of your life, you are under attack. Bacteria, viruses, spores, and more living stuff wants to enter your body and use its resources for itself. The immune system is a powerful army of cells that fights like a T-Rex on speed and sacrifices itself for your survival. Without it, you would die in no time. This sounds simple, but the reality is complex, beautiful, and just awesome....
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