Haiti’s St. Boniface looks to cloud IT to help earthquake victims
Patient progress to recovery has proven the success of the EHR. By Betsy Sherwood
or 30 years, the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation, located in the rural town of Fond des Blancs, Haiti, has been improving the lives of underserved patients by providing high-quality and aff ordable healthcare
and education. T e Foundation’s commitment to the local community was tested following a massive January 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti. More than 100,000 perished, and thousands of homes and commercial buildings were damaged or destroyed. St. Boniface lost almost all of its paper patient medical records.
Betsy Sherwood is program manager for the St. Boniface Rehabilitation and Community Reintegration Program; she served as coordinator of the program that implemented athenahealth’s cloud- based EHR at St. Boniface. For more on
In the wake of the disaster, as international relief organizations began to depart, St. Boniface stepped up to care for patients who had suff ered spinal cord injuries. Without much knowl- edge or experience in long-term care, the foundation’s new commitment spurred the creation of St. Boniface’s Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation and Community Reintegration Program, which proved to save the lives of many aff ected by the earthquake. As the program developed and its patient case load in- creased, the organization was in desperate need of an informa- tion system for clinical docu- mentation that could provide a full picture of a patient’s condition and health history. It was imperative that the or- ganization be able to track the program’s overall progress to eff ectively plan for the existing and future needs of its patients. With all of the documentation the organization needed, there was only one solution: a cloud- based EHR service. So in April 2013, St. Boni-
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PHOTO COURTESY ST. BONIFACE
Dr. Roland Desiree, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at St. Boniface, consults with a patient while entering information on the athenahealth cloud-based EHR.
18 October 2013 HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY
face partnered with athena- health to implement a cloud- based EHR at its rural location, fi nally giving patients an elec- tronic documentation of their condition and health history. By the third day of implemen-