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services “do so for routine matters rather than disaster-caused illnesses.”
Researchers write in the paper that Doctor On Demand was one of at least five telemedicine companies that offered free doctor visits to hurricane victims, and that more than 2,000 people affected by Harvey and Irma used the startup’s services in the 30 days after the hurricanes hit. Physicians located outside of the U.S. states and territories affected by the hurricanes handled just over half of these visits, according to the paper.
“A key advantage of telemedicine in disaster response is that out-of-state providers can be tapped to expand the response workforce quickly and cost effectively,” the researchers write.
They add that for telemedicine services to have the biggest effect in the wake of a catastrophic weather event, some or all of the area’s cellular service and Wi-Fi Internet infrastructure must remain intact.