University of Texas Medical Branch telemedicine disaster response and recovery: lessons learned from hurricane Ike.

Alexander H. Vo, George B. Brooks, Michael Bourdeau, Ralph Farr, Ben G. Raimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite previous efforts and expenditure of tremendous resources on creating and simulating disaster response scenarios, true disaster response, specifically for healthcare, has been inadequate. In addition, none of the >200 local and statewide telemedicine programs in the United States has ever responded to a large-scale disaster, let alone, experienced one directly. Based on its experience with hurricanes Rita and, most recently, Ike, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) experienced its most challenging trials. Although there were significant disruptions to a majority of UTMB's physical and operational infrastructures, its telemedicine services were able to resume near normal activities within the first week of the post-Ike recovery period, an unimaginable feat in the face of such remarkable devastation. This was primarily due in part to the flexibility of its data network, the rapid response, and plasticity of its telemedicine program. UTMB's experiences in providing rapid and effective medical services in the face of such a disaster offer valuable lessons for local, state, and national disaster preparations, policy, and remote medical delivery models and programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-633
Number of pages7
JournalTelemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association
Volume16
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2010

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Cyclonic Storms
Telemedicine
Disasters
Health Expenditures
Delivery of Health Care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Despite previous efforts and expenditure of tremendous resources on creating and simulating disaster response scenarios, true disaster response, specifically for healthcare, has been inadequate. In addition, none of the >200 local and statewide telemedicine programs in the United States has ever responded to a large-scale disaster, let alone, experienced one directly. Based on its experience with hurricanes Rita and, most recently, Ike, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) experienced its most challenging trials. Although there were significant disruptions to a majority of UTMB's physical and operational infrastructures, its telemedicine services were able to resume near normal activities within the first week of the post-Ike recovery period, an unimaginable feat in the face of such remarkable devastation. This was primarily due in part to the flexibility of its data network, the rapid response, and plasticity of its telemedicine program. UTMB's experiences in providing rapid and effective medical services in the face of such a disaster offer valuable lessons for local, state, and national disaster preparations, policy, and remote medical delivery models and programs.",
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