Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, and the success of OpenEMR customers

Throughout both Hurricane Maria’s initial impact and the rebuilding efforts, Puerto Rico has suffered tremendous infrastructure damage leaving the majority of the islands some 3.4 million people without power, water, communications, and internet access. Despite these challenges, OpenEMR would prove to be vital at multiple healthcare facilities as the island begins the process of rebuilding.

During and immediately following the hurricane’s devastating wind and rain, the following healthcare providers noted OpenEMR as an essential tool in receiving and assisting a large volume of patients:

  • Dr. Jorge Meléndez of Centro Médico Diagnóstico Muñoz Rivera
  • Dr. José Sepúlveda of Betances Clinical Center
  • Dr. Cid Quintana and Dr. Juan Vilaró of Centro Cardiovascular de Puerto Rico
  • Dr. Charles Vilaró Nelms
  • Dr. Glenda Miranda, Dr. Tania Ramírez and Dr. Lillian Borrego of Renalife PSC and many others

What did they all have in common? Some had power or a generator, most had no internet access, but all had OpenEMR with individualized customization installed on HITECH Compliance MD-Guardian Server.

Fast forward one month later and a total of three service calls (two forgotten passwords and one change of ISP), OpenEMR is still running strong at all locations. In fact, OpenEMR has been working equally as hard and efficiently before and during Hurricanes Irma and María and the ongoing island-wide crisis.

During these difficult times, HITECH Compliance anticipated that client support calls would increase, however they did not, leading the HITECH Compliance team to actively reach out to each location to ensure the system was running as expected. HITECH Compliance either called or in some instances, due to lack of communications, decided to visit each site. Despite critical infrastructure failures throughout the island, the HITECH Compliance team found that their clients were still successfully using OpenEMR to serve the population.

MD-Guardian is a rugged low profile headless server with 4TB RAID5 Encrypted Storage running Linux and a series of web based applications to aid in HIPAA compliance. It has tools such as firewall, proxy, vulnerability assessment, HIPAA incident management, server hardware and software management, DHCP, DNS, and Active Directory integration. OpenEMR is placed within this secure and compliant ecosystem.

About HITECH Compliance

HITECH Compliance is a HITECH, HIPAA and Technology Compliance, integration and support company. As one of the few vendors to obtain and maintain all of the prestigious American Health Information Managers Association’s (AHIMA) Certified Healthcare Technical Support credentials, HITECH Compliance is proud to be a Certified OpenEMR Professional Support Provider and Contributor.

Cover photo (“Sailors treat a patient in casualty receiving aboard the Navy Hospital ship.“) by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephane Belcher/Released and used with permission as stated in the Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0