Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) has launched efforts to explore the expansion in Texas of a national initiative that enables the secure, electronic exchange of health information during natural disasters and other emergencies. Known as PULSE (Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies), this health information technology solution better enables first responders and medical providers to provide quality care during natural disasters. As part of THSA’s efforts, CEO George Gooch testified this week before the Texas House Public Health Committee on the agency’s ongoing health information exchange initiatives with a special focus on PULSE. Gooch was invited to appear before the committee to update the panel on THSA's development and expansion of PULSE in Texas. “PULSE is on the cutting edge of technology and is a forward-looking system for addressing the critical needs of patients and the delivery of quality healthcare to all Texans during an emergency,” said Gooch. “We are confident that PULSE is the right program for Texas to fulfill its commitment to take decisive action following the horrible and historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.” During Hurricane Harvey, more than 42,000 Gulf Coast residents were displaced from their homes. Approximately, one in seven of them sought medical care during their displacement. With a simple search, authenticated disaster response volunteers can securely access medications, allergies, diagnoses and lab results for those displaced outside their typical healthcare environment during a national disaster or other emergency. Authorized networks connected to PULSE will have already taken all necessary precautions to protect patient data under state and federal law. “We are working to have PULSE in place before the 2019 hurricane season begins,” added Gooch. “We look forward to continuing this dialogue with our state leaders and educating the public on the many benefits of having this system available during emergencies while keeping Texas in the forefront of health information exchange (HIE).” In late 2014, ONC and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response received a joint Health and Human Services (HHS) Ventures award, through HHS’ innovative IDEA Lab, to lay the foundation for PULSE. About THSA The Texas legislature established Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) in 2007 for the purpose of promoting, implementing, and facilitating the secure electronic exchange of health information. The THSA accomplishes this purpose through its health information exchange (HIE) and privacy and security certification and supporting programs. Learn more about the THSA at www.thsa.org.