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What we have here is, a failure of preparedness

January 26, 2010 - 0 Comments

The past 10 years have seen their fill of disasters, including terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and devastating earthquakes in Haiti this year. Impossible to predict and unpreventable, these events are examples of why disaster preparedness is so important. Crisis situations arise quickly and with little or no notice, and the speed of which we can provide necessary aid and assistance can often mean the difference between life and death.

Even with all these disasters, CNN reported today that a commission established to assess national security measures gave the U.S. government a failing grade in improving response time, especially response to biothreats. The commission found that despite improvements to identifying and preventing incidents, the past three administrations had failed to improve preparedness and response.

The failure to implement video teleconferencing (VTC) for delivery of healthcare during crisis situations is an incredible example of missed opportunities to improve disaster response.

Video teleconferencing (VTC) has seen rapid adoption in the healthcare arena as one way to deliver medical care quickly to those who need it. VTC has incredible potential in disaster response for increasing access to specialized health and medical services, enabling remote monitoring to control disease outbreaks and by providing back-up surge capacity for local healthcare providers.

Unfortunately, even with a wide array of implementation where VTC is helping to save lives and provide medical care to those in need, the wide-spread infrastructure and equipment investments and installations needed to bring VTC to mass disaster-relief operations have yet to be made. In fact, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has grown frustrated by the sheer amount of recommendations that they’ve made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use of VTC solutions in disaster recovery that have been ignored.

VTC solutions are capable of bringing care to victims of disasters. By enabling VTC in disaster response, the American government can break down the walls between skilled specialists and the victims who need care and empower a new way of responding.

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