ATSDR Stories from the Field

Fingers typing on tablet

An app-based tool tested during Hurricane Maria highlights the critical benefits of real-time data collection and data quality improvements in health facilities in Puerto Rico.

Paper-based assessments can be a burden, especially during emergency responses when rapid information flow is critical.

When CDC/ATSDR staff were deployed to assist with the Hurricane Maria public health response, with the Department of Health and Human Services in Puerto Rico, they noticed an extended amount of staff time and effort were required when trying to understand if healthcare facilities across Puerto Rico were prepared with emergency supplies and resources.

don't mess with mercury text on green background
The CDART team and federal employees are presenting the CDART app to partners.

CDC/ATSDR staff, in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Planning Board’s GIS (geographic information systems) group, worked to develop app-based surveys that helps standardize the way we assess whether public facilities are ready during an emergency. These are called the Comprehensive Disaster Assessment and Readiness Tools (CDART).

CDART consists of three main tools: (1) Readiness check, (2) Rapid Disaster Assessment tool, and (3) Comprehensive Disaster Assessment tool. These tools aim to capture the readiness status of healthcare facilities and determine post-disaster operational status.

CDART allows healthcare facilities to communicate real-time information before catastrophic events and emergencies. A key component of CDART is a field-ready survey using GPS-enabled tablets for quick downloading.

Collage of ATSDR at work
The CDART team use these GoKit GPS-enabled tablets while in the field.

With CDART, dashboards rapidly and easily show critical pieces of real-time information on the status of healthcare facilities—specifically, back-up capabilities for communications, water and power sources, as well as operations and logistics.

The use of CDART instead of paper-based surveys delivers higher data quality and saves hours of staff time per week. In addition, the user-friendly and customization flexibility, such as dual language capabilities, can play a significant role in communication during disaster responses.

CDART will provide tools for local, state, and federal agencies to capture accurate information and share it in real time during all phases of a disaster.

Page last reviewed: November 12, 2019