, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 591-597
Date: 19 Nov 2009

Health Information and Communication System for Emergency Management in a Developing Country, Iran

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Disasters are fortunately rare occurrences. However, accurate and timely information and communication are vital to adequately prepare individual health organizations for such events. The current article investigates the health related communication and information systems for emergency management in Iran. A mixed qualitative and quantitative methodology was used in this study. A sample of 230 health service managers was surveyed using a questionnaire and 65 semi-structured interviews were also conducted with public health and therapeutic affairs managers who were responsible for emergency management. A range of problems were identified including fragmentation of information, lack of local databases, lack of clear information strategy and lack of a formal system for logging disaster related information at regional or local level. Recommendations were made for improving the national emergency management information and communication system. The findings have implications for health organizations in developing and developed countries especially in the Middle East. Creating disaster related information databases, creating protocols and standards, setting an information strategy, training staff and hosting a center for information system in the Ministry of Health to centrally manage and share the data could improve the current information system.