Pandemic prep backstops hurricane response

‘Our goal is to couple our human interaction in the home with patient engagement platforms that keep our employees and patients safe’
 - 
Monday, November 2, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated headlines in 2020, HME providers still face challenges from natural disasters like Hurricane Laura, which blew ashore Aug. 27 in Louisiana as a Category 4 with winds of 150 mph. Both events have shined a light on the need for technology in the home to care for patients, says Casey Hoyt, CEO of Lafayette-based Viemed Healthcare.  

HME spoke with Hoyt about his company’s response to the storm and how the pandemic helped it weather the hurricane. 

HME News: How are vent patients equipped in the case of power outages and other issues arising from hurricanes? Is heat an issue for these patients? 

Casey Hoyt: All of our patients have two battery backups and are instructed to evacuate out of harm’s way. The battery backup is designed to get them from one power source to another. While non-invasive and invasive vents can perform if hooked up to a generator, it can be the heat that leads patients to an exacerbation. The vent will only circulate the temperature of the air in the current environment, so in our coastal regions it is imperative that they find restitution indoors with working air conditioning after a hurricane. 

HME: Did Viemed’s new telehealth platform, which you really ramped up for the pandemic, enable you to better communicate with patients during the storm? 

Hoyt: Yes, our telehealth platform has been incredibly helpful in communicating with our patients who are displaced. Lots of our Louisiana patients either re-positioned themselves further north or east of the storm’s path or into Texas. Once they reached power, they could resolve issues and connect on a real-time basis with our respiratory therapists. 

HME: Pandemics, hurricanes – are there any other challenges Viemed is ready to take on in 2020? 

Hoyt: The pandemic and now this natural disaster have shined a light on the need for the use of technology inside of the home. Our goal is to couple our human interaction in the home with patient engagement platforms that keep our employees and patients safe. We will continue to invest in these types of tools, all in the name of improving quality of life within the communities we are so privileged to serve.