Pre-hospital Application of Telemedicine in Acute-Onset Disaster Situations; Matthew Turnock, Negin Mastouri, Alim Jivraj; McMaster University; 9 Dec 2008

Pre-hospital Application of Telemedicine in Acute-Onset Disaster Situations; Matthew Turnock, Negin Mastouri, Alim Jivraj; McMaster University; 9 Dec 2008

 

Introduction

There have been several examples of devastating and large scale disasters over the last few decades with multiple etiologies, from the anthropogenic (e.g. terrorist attacks and bioterrorism) to the natural (e.g., Earthquake in Bam Iran, Indonesian tsunami, hurricane Katrina, famine in Africa). These disaster events have had a significant acute and long-term impact on human health and healthcare delivery systems.

 

Disasters generate human need at a time when services, infrastructure, and resources may be least available. Disasters that cause structural damage to buildings often result in traumatic injury, exposure to high-voltage electricity, inhalation lung injuries resulting from fire or explosions, or secondary illnesses or injuries resulting from serious health threats from contaminated air, water and sewage, animal bites, and human threats such as rape and theft. Disasters can also cause mental health consequences, including depression, anxiety, agitation, and post-traumatic stress. Dealing with these health effects is further complicated in a disaster-compromised healthcare system and public infrastructure that is overwhelmed by the surge in demand, damaged, or destroyed.

 

 

 

Medical disaster response supplements local emergency medical response systems with resources from federal government, neighboring communities, humanitarian assistance organizations, medical personnel, hazardous materials teams, and volunteers from external sources. Managing an effective response requires effective collaboration, facilitated by telecommunication technologies, and up-to-date information about conditions at the scene. Unfortunately, existing telephone networks become disabled during many disaster events, because of either physical damage to the communication infrastructure or an inability to handle increased demand.2 Without question, there is a critical need for effective information management and communication in generating coordinated actions to prevent and treat serious health problems resulting from acute-onset disasters.

 

 

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Prehospital telemedicine in disasters.pdf725.82 KB
Prehospital telemedicine in disasters presentation.pdf3.69 MB