U.S. Turns to Telehealth Tools To Deliver Health Care to Haiti Residents

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U.S. physicians are using telemedicine to improve public health in Haiti after last month’s earthquake, the New York Times reports.

Soon, the University of Miami’s 240-bed tent hospital near the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, will use telemedicine technology to let doctors consult via satellite with specialists at the University of Miami and other medical centers, according to Scott Simmons, director of telehealth at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Anne Burdick, associate dean of telehealth and clinical outreach at the Miller school, said the University’s telemedicine program in Haiti could be "a hub for connecting Haitian patients with health care providers in several U.S. telemedicine programs around the country."

Meanwhile, Miquel Cubano, surgeon general of the U.S. military’s Southern Command, said he was in "discussions to set up a long-term presence in Haiti." He said that one option is to provide telemedicine consultations with the Center for the Intrepid, a military rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio.

S. Ward Casscells -- a Houston cardiologist and former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs -- said that when the U.S. military leaves Haiti, they should provide local medical personnel with telemedicine equipment and training on how to use such tools (Freudenheim, New York Times, 2/9).


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