Telemedicine in Post-Disaster Settings

Telemedicine is a Medical Services Delivery System which utilizes technology for the delivery of health care, including clinical care as well as consultation between providers. Telemedicine is often focused on the geographically difficult to reach populations, the underserved and those in low resource and post-disaster settings. Thus, underserved settings can have access to specialty knowledge and experience that might not otherwise be readily available. As technology continues to progress, the thrust of telemedicine is likely to broaden to serve a broader population with greater efficiency, continuity and timeliness.

In post-disaster settings, such as post-earthquake Norcia, Italy, telemedicine allows for on-going sustainable contact between local medical providers and mental health experts located at a distance. However, it is important that the distant experts visit the post-disaster setting, so that trusting relationships can be developed, thus increasing the likelihood of success.