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As a recovering Caribbean braces for hurricane season, new data tools promise smarter response

“It’s been a big deal, really ever since Katrina, having the ability to visualize something,” said Henry Yennie, a program manager who provides emergency support for critical healthcare facilities through Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals.
Yennie said the addition of a mapping tool from geospatial data company Boundless has transformed how his agency responds to emergencies like hurricanes as they unfold. The software, he told StateScoop, compiles dynamic maps based on near-real-time bed status data provided by healthcare facilities and other data sources, allowing responders to quickly size up a problem and address urgent issues such as determining which hospitals with intensive-care patients are running on generator power.
With help from Boundless, Yennie said he can build a map and have a visual answer to a question in less than an hour.
“That capability to do those maps based on actual data is priceless. You can’t put a value to it,” Yennie said. “The bigger use case for them is facility status  — in the run-up to a hurricane or ice storms people want to know how many hospitals are vulnerable, how many nursing homes are vulnerable.”
In the Virgin Islands, this type of technology could be purchased through relief funding provided by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which allocated $1.62 billion in block grants to the territory in April and an additional $243 million last week.
Reprint from StateScoop
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