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NHIT Care Campaign - BLOG


DELIVERING A RESILIENT HEALTH SAFETY NET IN PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS


WASHINGTON, D.C. – October, 3, 2018
​ On September 20th, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), causing severe, widespread damage to essential infrastructure and leaving the islands’ residents in devastation. The National HIT Collaborative for the Underserved, Inc. (NHIT®) ability to blend passion, health IT expertise, convening, and policy - evolved with this emergency to a strategy of delivery with our strategic partners.

NHIT’s Urgent Response
NHIT, with guidance from supporting partners, immediately launched the
NHIT Care Campaign®  to help rebuild the HIT and health care infrastructure. NHIT, with partners Sprint, Healthcare Ready, The Primary Care Association, help addressed the urgent need for power, medical supplies, communications, and telemedicine support to conduct emergency medical response, mapping and logistical support in coordination with disaster response operations. The goal was to help restore the health safety net for the people of Puerto Rico and the USVI.

Designing a Resilient Health Safety Net
The devastation from the hurricanes coupled with our experience with partners in the Federal Government, Puerto Rico, USVI for the last year has proven that (1) the previous health safety net was inadequate for the people and (2) a essential health IT infrastructure was basically non-existent. The NHIT Care Campaign shifted focus from restoring the previous health safety net to designing a new resilient health safety net.

Both patient-centered systems of care and technical aspects of health-related infrastructure are critical enablers for post-hurricane resiliency in Puerto Rico and the USVI. The Campaign focuses on three primary domains:

  • Clinical & Community Systems of Care
  • Essential Health-Related Infrastructure
  • HIT & HIE


The goal for the initial phase of the campaign is to provide a high-level implementation plan across the near-, mid-, and long-term as a roadmap for implementation of a future-proof, disaster resilient health ecosystem. Through modern Agile portfolio management practices, NHIT® will integrate policy and delivery of Health System solutions to drive successful delivery and adoption.  

The following have also been identified by the NHIT Care Campaign team as immediate necessary actions:

  • Real-time situational awareness on the ground. Immediate inspection and remediation of health provider sites
  • Rapid connectivity to the internet to enable communication and telemedicine
  • Enhancement of coordination and alignment of federal, local, commercial, and NGO efforts
  • Coordination of healthcare emergency/recovery supply chain
  • Scalable clinical, community, and public health reporting systems in anticipation of regional outbreaks such as Zika
  • HIT needs assessment, infrastructure roadmap, and strategic plan development
  • HIT infrastructure implementation for data interoperability and care coordination


Crucial partners in the campaign include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Briljent, TechFlow, TracFone Wireless, Healthcare Ready, Sprint, Williams Consultants, and PRPCAN.

Delivering a Resilient Health Safety Net
While our design for a resilient health safety net will continue to evolve - we have just recently launched our next phase. The NHIT Care Campaign, through strategic partnerships, has created and identified several key initiatives that are necessary for delivering a resilient health safety net. Three of these opportunities were contracted in just the last three months launching what is our most exciting phase of the NHIT Care Campaign… delivery.

The NHIT Care Campaign’s goal is to establish world class delivery of health services in both Puerto Rico and USVI.  NHIT’s unparalleled ability to blend passion, health IT expertise, convening, and policy with our strategic partners proven delivery capabilities - has created an impactful patient-centered portfolio management practice - necessary for a resilient health safety net.

The NHIT Care Campaign and its partners are committed to delivering on the promise of a resilient health safety net for years to come.

About the NHIT Care Campaign®

The National HIT Collaborative for the Underserved, Inc. (NHIT®), is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, established in 2008 with a mission to engage underserved populations in the development and use of health information technology (HIT) as a means to support and sustain health equity and economic viability based on NHIT’s five pillars: Workforce, Innovation, Policy, Research, and Community.

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CONTACT:  Luis Belen, CEO, lbelen@nhitunderserved.org. ​