Disaster e-Health Scope and the Role of RFID for Healthcare Purposes
MetadataShow full metadata
Disasters, either natural or manmade, are sudden and mostly unpredictable. They are of such enormous scale that it is necessary for societies to embark upon special planning and preparedness before disasters strike to prevent or diminish their destructive consequences. These plans aim at enhancing and facilitating response and recovery efforts. They are a part of two well-established domains: disaster management and disaster medicine. There is intensifying research in the fields of disaster management and disaster medicine. The intention of these studies has been to find ways to enhance disaster response missions by concentrating on coordination, communication, situation awareness, and the overall decision-making process of top authorities and managers (Abkowitz, 2008). In this regard, some researchers, such as Sieben, Scott, and Palacios (2012) and Norris et al. (2015), have suggested systematic utilisation and integration of e-health technologies for healthcare purposes within the Disaster Management Cycle (DMC). This specific focus had not been addressed previously. This research has identified an emerging field of Disaster e-Health (DEH) in the intersection of three areas: disaster management, disaster medicine, and e-health. The ultimate aim of DEH is enhancing the delivery of healthcare services and their quality in all phases of disasters through e-health technologies. Although currently various e-health technologies have been used within DMC for different purposes, their usage is ad hoc. To exploit the full potential of e-health technologies, a model is required that has not been addressed before; this model is DEH. To better understand the potential of DEH, this research was conducted in three phases. First, a scoping review across the three above-mentioned fields that constitute DEH was undertaken. The outcome of this phase was defining the scope of DEH in which the included e-health technologies, their applications, services and futures as well as the related stakeholders were specified. Then, by finding inspiration from use-case methodology, the researcher defined a method for a systematic generation of functional scenarios within DMC. The aim of this phase was to identify the e-health technologies that could be used in these scenarios. Finally, in the third phase, the researcher tried to identify the role of RFID during the DMC. Potential uses of this technology were proposed for a number of scenarios that were generated for different disaster phases. Finally, a Delphi method was conducted in which experts were asked to evaluate both the scope of DEH as well as the potential usefulness of RFID applications in the generated scenarios within DMC and DEH scope. This research study contributes to the body of knowledge through defining the scope of DEH that clearly demonstrates its functionalities and potentials within DMC and for the involved stakeholders. Moreover, this research proposes a method for systematic scenario generation within DMC. A further key contribution of this study is the provision of a comprehensive investigation of RFID roles and applications within DMC.