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MoH invests in web-based emergency info system

For immediate press release.

Ministry of Health invests in web-based emergency information management system
Wellington, New Zealand: 18 April, 2008

The Ministry of Health has purchased the emergency information management system WebEOC from Wellington-based location intelligence specialists Critchlow Ltd. WebEOC provides a secure, user-friendly web-based environment for multiple agencies to seamlessly co-ordinate and more effectively manage unfolding emergencies at a local, regional or national level.

The Ministry of Health recently proved the value of the system when it was used to manage health sector responses and communications during last month’s major national civil defence exercise, dubbed Exercise Ruaumoko. This involved up to 60 health users from 12 agencies, including District Health Boards and public health organisations.

With WebEOC, multiple agencies are able to securely log in to a single centralised system through which their management and emergency operations staff can view situation reports; use visual dashboards to dynamically track the status of emergency personnel, victims and health sector resources such as staff, drug supplies and hospital beds; log requests for assistance and offers of help; and prioritise and assign tasks. Maps, graphics, reports and media feeds can be incorporated, and information is intelligently filtered to avoid overload and ensure each user sees only what they need to effectively do their jobs.

Steve Critchlow, executive director of Emergency Management Solutions for Critchlow, says WebEOC is favoured because it is proven, cost-effective and fast to implement.

“A key benefit of WebEOC is that it is very easy to use. It is designed to mimic the whiteboards used in emergency operations centres and is very intuitive. People who have never seen it before, and who may not have any prior training on computer systems, are up and running in as little as 15 minutes.”

“While it is simple to use, it has extremely sophisticated functionality. It includes a suite of default status boards and forms, and we’ve found these are easily tailored to create custom boards. We have worked with focus groups from across the health sector to scope their requirements and validate the boards we have built to date, and we are working with the Ministry to fine-tune these after Exercise Ruaumoko to best suit the local situation and ensure the emergency response is as effective as possible. Boards can even be modified on-the-fly, if needed.”

“We can install the system, provide training for the administrators and have the system up and running with basic functionality within a week,” Critchlow adds. “The biggest benefit of WebEOC is that the right people get the right information at the right time, without being swamped. That means they can do their jobs better, and ultimately save lives.”

Critchlow Ltd. has also supplied WebEOC to the Auckland City Council, and to a number of Australian agencies including the Attorney-General’s Department, Western Australia Police, Australian Customs Service and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.


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