Journal 12, December 2006pages: 828-831
Objectives: To describe how an HMO used its health information technology in a way that enables its management to receive updated online information on the demands of the insured, according to their distribution throughout the country during the time of the war in Lebanon in July-August 2006.
Methods: Data were derived from the computerized medical records of Maccabi Healthcare Services – the second largest HMO in Israel, providing care to more than 1.7 million members nationwide. Data on healthcare utilization by northern members were compared to the geographic distribution of clinics.
Results: The war was characterized by the massive evacuation of citizens southwards. During this period there was an abrupt decline in the utilization of medical services by northern members in the northern region. This decline returned to normal 10 days after the ceasefire. A reciprocal increase was noted in the use of health services by citizens from the north in other regions. This increase returned to normal after the war. No such pattern was noticed during the same period in 2005.
Conclusions: Real-time surveillance of trends in consumption of health services by citizens in times of regular daily living as well as during emergencies and wars is a vital management tool for medical directors responsible for providing health services.
 HMO = health management organization