Every region of the country has to deal with difficult weather conditions and emergency scenarios at times.  They can range from natural disasters, like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, to simply seasonal weather patterns like flooding in the spring or snowy winters.  Regardless, these situations tend to create spikes in accident and injury frequency, while at the same time posing challenges for medical professionals due to treacherous travel conditions or power outages.

Connected health technologies, however, make it easier to deliver and access healthcare professionals and services under challenging conditions – in some cases, even making it possible.  Many of the features of connected healthcare can allow medical services to be delivered more effectively and quickly, saving time, money, and potentially lives.

On-site consultations

First responders are required to act quickly on the spot to assess conditions, including treatment alternatives for injuries.  Often, they may benefit from a remote consultation or expert diagnosis to help determine the extent of injuries and appropriate treatment and transport protocol.  Mobile connected health technologies allow on-site personnel to connect with doctors and specialists anywhere, while remote monitoring can track vital statistics to help them make informed decisions.  By providing immediate consultations, doctors and first responders are able to prioritize needs and determine which patients require immediate emergency care and which do not.

Temporary emergency centers

Local governments often set up emergency shelters to ensure safety of residents who are unable to evacuate, become unsafe in their homes, or need shelter for other reasons.  These shelters can also serve as central staging areas for medical services, especially when travel to hospitals, emergency centers, or other facilities is impossible or dangerous.  Medical at these shelters can use connected health systems to communicate with physicians to diagnose conditions and provide recommendations for care, from treating injuries to monitoring expectant mothers to treating cases of extreme stress.

Physician availability

Power outages can cripple clinics and doctors’ offices, and road blockages or difficult travel can mean doctors can’t get to their offices.  The right connected health solutions can allow physicians to continue to provide care from other locations, including local offices or homes.  This can include virtual visits for regular patients who are trying to keep their scheduled appointments, or it can mean assisting first responders or emergency facilities as they attend to injuries and other conditions that require immediate care.  Furthermore, if physicians are inaccessible or overburdened due to emergency conditions, connected health solutions can enable access to other providers beyond the impacted areas who can assist, ensuring patients receive the care they need.

Missed appointments

Patients may need to cancel scheduled appointments with doctors for any number of reasons during weather incidents, from downed trees to low visibility to slippery roads, all making commuting treacherous.  Traditionally, patients would have two options: brave the roads (if they are passable), or cancel and deal with a cancellation charge.  Connected healthcare, however, can enable patients to keep their appointments through virtual visits, while keeping physicians’ schedules full to ensure revenue flow.

From enabling faster diagnoses to maximizing physicians’ time, connected healthcare solutions can ease the burden of delivering medical services during highly stressful and often dangerous situations.  The benefits impact patients as well as healthcare providers and create a more efficient system for delivering healthcare.

To find out how connected health solutions can benefit your practice in emergency and non-emergency circumstances, click here.

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