Amarillo man using technology to improve healthcare for seniors during COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 10:43 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One Amarillo man is trying to improve the lives of many senior citizens during the pandemic with technology.

Vikram Shaw is a recent Yale graduate who was involved in Telehealth Access for Seniors, an organization that works to provide seniors with tablets so telemedicine can be more easily accessed.

“Especially now, since the elderly population is at the greatest risk for any sort of COVID related illness, it is important that they have access to their physicians but don’t have to sacrifice. If I go into the office, and I only have a cloth mask, I’m not completely protected. We don’t want them to get sick when they go into the clinic,” said Shaw.

Doctors say telemedicine is very beneficial, especially for the elderly during a time like this.

“Some of them are frail. They have mobility issues, they have transportation issues. They can’t get out of their house, so this is a way to connect with the patient directly,” said Bruce Clarke, physician at Family Medicine Center in Canyon.

The issue with telemedicine for seniors is lack of technology and knowledge of how to use it.

“Some of them, they don’t have a smart phone. They have a flip phone, so we have to work with what they have,” said Clarke.

That is why Telehealth Access for Seniors was created, to not only provide devices for these seniors, but to also provide instruction on how to set up and use the tablets.

“The goal was, kind of, two fold, provide those devices. We also have guides and instructions they can use to set those devices up, to figure out, to conduct their meetings and appointments,” said Shaw.

The organizations goal is to increase the use of telemedicine in Amarillo to keep our seniors safe.

“I’ve had people that were out of town, out of state that needed help. We could do this while they’re in their car, that’s how convenient technology is in this new age of COVID,” said Clarke.

The organization has been in Amarillo for only a month and has already donated seven devices to the Veterans nursing home and already looking for more opportunities to help.

“Really cell phones, old iPhones, old tablets of any kind, those are really what we’re looking for, just because they are very versatile. They can use them for many different things, and primarily, they can use them for telehealth appointments,” said Shaw.

The organization also accepts monetary donations. To see if your device can be donated, visit the Telehealth Access for Seniors website here.

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