Seven years ago, the Office of the National Health Information Technology Coordinator (ONC) began work on the Unified Emergency Patient Search System (PULSE). PULSE is an effort to build national resilience by improving first responders’ access to electronic health information from patients who need it to provide services and maintain public health during disasters, including public health emergencies.
ONC recently launched a new, code-only technical solution called PULSE Community Edition (PULSE Community), which is based on the original PULSE code. PULSE Community enables first responders and other emergency responders (e.g., epidemiologists, emergency services, and health care volunteers) to securely access critical health information they need from associated health organizations in the event of emergencies and disasters.
PULSE Community emerged from a joint project between ONC, the PULSE Advisory Committee of the Sequoia Project and Audacious Inquiry. As a pure code solution (as opposed to a technology product), PULSE Community is scalable, flexible, non-proprietary and available free of charge to state, territorial, local and tribal governments and their partners from the public and private sectors.
The PULSE Community will give state and local governments more flexibility to build on existing health information exchange infrastructure, leverage existing developer resources, and create a more customized PULSE program and system. The PULSE community has the potential to create a more innovative and competitive market for other PULSE technical solutions.
The first PULSE system was developed in California and was used as part of efforts to fight forest fires in the state. It provides first responders with critical access to health information they need for patient care (e.g. medication the patient is taking) through a flexible, easy-to-understand system. However, every disaster affects every state / place differently, and PULSE enables states and places to tailor their approach to their needs and policies or the health information technology (IT) they use.
As part of ONC’s continued support for PULSE, ONC will conduct an implementation assessment of the PULSE community over the next year, including an independent technical assessment and stakeholder meeting to assess PULSE’s use, cost, future needs, and sustainability to rate.
Organizations interested in becoming a potential user can email [email protected] to request access and use the code.
If you would like to learn more about the PULSE / PULSE community, please contact Visit HealthIT.gov.
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