Lewisville-based Teladoc announced Wednesday that it is launching a pilot project with the American Red Cross to provide telemedicine services to patients in disaster areas.
The Red Cross will send patients to the telehealth provider when the strain from a large-scale disaster creates a demand that outpaces supply of physicians in a city or region. Teladoc, generally, provides board-certified physicians who can treat low-acuity conditions such as sinusitis, strep throat, and urinary tract infections. The pilot will only kick in during a crisis when live doctors cannot be reached, the company said. This is the Red Cross’ first partnership with a telemedicine provider.
“Telehealth is on track to play a major role in the future of disaster risk reduction,” read a statement from Mary Casey-Lockyer, American Red Cross senior associate for disaster health services. “Our alliance with the Teladoc team provides the opportunity to advance toward that goal. It is our hope that this collaboration will serve as a conduit toward closing a gap in services during events, as well as in the days, weeks and months afterward.”
Teladoc has provided remote care for victims of Hurricane Matthew. The partnership expands those offerings into a dedicated pilot project, the results of which will be assessed and scaled afterward. The company will make available their web services in the event of a disaster; the Red Cross will be on hand to help steer patients through the process.