How Telemedicine Can Improve Our Disaster Response

Medscape, February 9, 2018

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, it upended the island’s infrastructure.[1] Almost a month after the storm, Kaiser Health News reported that many of the island’s 3.4 million residents were still unable to get nutritious food to eat, let alone medication or treatment for chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.[2]

To help with the situation, on October 26, 2017, NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP)/Weill Cornell Medical Center (WCMC) in New York City began to offer free telemedicine and peer-to-peer consults between New York physicians and a New York–based disaster response team stationed in Puerto Rico. Physicians used live conferencing to treat four patients through an effort coordinated by the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Health Care Association of New York State, under the auspices of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the state of New York, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health.

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