Advancing disaster epidemiology and response: Developing a national disaster-victim database

Mark Fenig, David C. Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background. The need to further disaster preparedness has resulted in a call for more comprehensive disaster research. Past disaster research has, for the most part, been limited by the inability to obtain complete medical data from victims of disasters. A national disaster-victim database (NDVD) can be developed that will facilitate collection and aggregation of disaster-victim medical data from health care facilities. Three aspects of the NDVD are discussed: Data Requirements. Medical records of disaster victims must be standardized before being uploaded from various databases into the NDVD. Existing data dictionaries provide formats in which data elements can become standardized. Once standardized, data sets from different facilities can be pooled and subjected to analyses. Database System. The three tiers of the NDVD system are: 1) medical data are collected at the point of care, 2) medical data are entered into databases and converted into a specific format, and 3) formatted data sets are uploaded to the NDVD. In order for this system to be viable, it must not add burden to health care workers; rather, it must benefit them and their facilities. Real-time Collection of Medical Data. Capturing data on victims of a disaster, during a disaster, is ideal. This would allow for more victim data to be studied as well as for more accurate data to be collected. Technologic advancement has encouraged a real-time data-collection model in St. Louis that can act as a model for NDVD implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-467
Number of pages11
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Database
  • Disaster epidemiology
  • Emergency medical services
  • Mass-casualty incident

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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