Challenges and Recommendations for Patient Tracking in Past Earthquakes: An Experience from Iran




Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore key informants’ experiences about challenges and recommendations of patient identification and tracking in past earthquakes in Iran. Methods: A qualitative survey of key informants’ experiences and views was carried out on emergency physicians and nurses, first responders and managers of red crescent society, and emergency medical services (EMS) from March to September 2015. Semistructured interviews were performed with informants who had experience of response to past earthquakes in Iran by using a purposive sampling method. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and entered into MAXQDA (version 10) for coding and content analysis. A thematic analysis of interview transcripts was undertaken. Results: 5 themes including the crowd’s presence, lack of unified command and integrated management, deficiency of planning, shortage of managerial and information infrastructures, and human resources challenges with their subthemes were explored. Also, some solutions were explored as follows: community education, chain of command and integrated management in the disaster scene, and training the emergency medical personnel and first responders. Conclusions: There are many challenges that should be solved for improving patient tracking in future disasters in Iran. Planning for proper and effective communication between agencies that have responsibility for disastermanagement is very important. Also, community education is a vital measure to familiarize them with disaster and teach them how to save lives.