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Telemedicine’s Role in Disaster Relief

The devastation of Hurricane Harvey is evident. Harvey is recorded as one of the most powerful storms to hit the U.S in over a decade. Hurricane Harvey, with its torrential rain, raging winds, and enormous amounts of flooding have left 31 people dead, 300,000 without power and over 30,000 people homeless. This storm represents a devastating blow to the people of Houston. According to this article by ABC News, 1.3 million of the population in Houston’s metro area already lacked health insurance and 22.5% live below the poverty line.

The wake of this destruction has left a huge need for the families and businesses in southeast Texas. The response of generous support and camaraderie around the country has been uplifting. Many efforts are being organized to supply solutions for the affected areas.

Part of the efforts to support this community is coming in the way of telemedicine. SimpleVisit along with other members of the American Telemedicine Association make it possible for patients to maintain access to healthcare despite being displaced to a shelter.  Even providers practicing in areas affected by the damage can continue to provide care remotely with the advancements in telemedicine.

There are reports of hospitals and practices evacuating to neighboring facilities along with a flooding of emergency room and urgent care walk-ins.  It is situations like this where telemedicine is crucial to disaster relief. There are numerous telemedicine practices and vendors similar to SimpleVisit who are already involved in the effort to minimize the impact on the surrounding areas and care for this troubled population.  

As you extend your thoughts, prayers and giving to the relief and restoration initiatives in Houston, consider contributing to the telemedicine efforts that are working to provide healthcare services for this area.

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