Telehealth Helping Veterans

The VA is increasing the use of telehealth according to the 400 page report “Department of Veterans Affairs 2012 Performance and Accountability Report” released last November. The report states, “In 2012, the VA implemented new innovative practices such as telemedicine and mobile clinics to provide care to more than 6 million unique patients.” In 2012, nearly 500,000 veteran patients received 1.4 million telehealth-based consultations delivered from 150 VA Medical Centers and 750 Outpatient Clinics.

A few years back, GlobalMed’s offerings were chosen by the VA to deploy multifaceted telemedicine systems throughout the VA’s Medical Centers, Community-based Outpatient Clinics, and Community Living Centers.GlobalMed Founder and Managing Director Joel E. Barthelemy said, “We believe the VA is ahead of the curve in utilizing the latest technologies to expand access to the best quality care. The evidence demonstrates that governments and other providers around the world are beginning to replicate the proven VA model”.

According to the FY 2014 proposed budget, the use of telehealth has proven particularly valuable for the large number of veterans with PTSD or other mental health conditions. One recently completed study reports that patients with PTSD, who received therapy via telemedicine, cancelled fewer sessions with fewer no-shows than patients who received therapy in person.

The VA is providing better healthcare by utilizing technology. For example, the company SRA International Inc. is managing and administering the VA’s Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders (SCI/D) technology systems by ensuring that the 51 servers across 21 regional Spinal Cord Injury Centers remain operational and available. Physicians, nurses, and therapists are able to provide rehabilitation, medical and surgical care, patient and family education, psychological, and vocational care, and professional training.

SRA is also supporting the VA’s Health Risk Assessment (HRA) new model of care. The HRA is a tool that collects information directly from patients through the use of structured questionnaires presented online through a web portal or interface and available as a component of the VA’s Personal Health Record. The HRA can provide tailored feedback to the care providers on an individual’s health status with recommended steps for improvement.

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