Hurricane Irene Classifier Monitors Storm-Related ER Visits

October, 2011 — When meteorologists predicted that Hurricane Irene would make a significant impact in New Jersey, the state’s Department of Health & Senior Services contacted HMS to request that a classifier be added to EpiCenter—to identify hurricane-related ER visits.

As soon as we sent an email to request their assistance, HMS staff was available quickly for a conference call to go over our request and set out the details,” states Teresa Hamby, MSPH, a Data Analyst for the state’s Communicable Disease Service. The classifier—simply the word “Irene”—was up and running within the hour.

Hamby’s team notified hospitals across the state to include the word “Irene” in any ER admission related to the hurricane. “We used the information to monitor two things—the burden of Irene-related visits on our emergency departments, and the types of illnesses that were being seen.”

The resulting data allowed the Department of Health & Senior Services to easily view the types of complaints presented during the storm. “I can foresee this being very helpful in future events,” adds Hamby.

About Health Monitoring Systems, Inc.

HMS ( is a privately held company specializing in healthcare data analysis. The company processes and analyzes health‐related data in real time via a Software‐as‐a‐Service (SaaS) approach. Using this approach, HMS enables clients to increase their understanding of regional health conditions, improve quality and efficiency, and ensure regulatory compliance.

The company’s EpiCenter™ system is a first of its kind community health surveillance system for public health. HMS collects and analyzes data from more than 500 healthcare facilities across the country.


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