Telemedicine Comes to Amarillo VA

Russell Anglin | Amarillo Globe News | March 25, 2012

Clinical technician Ron Detten took a photo of a scratch on support assistant Brad Evans’ arm at the Thomas E. Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center library. Detten could then take that image, he said, and send it to a dermatologist, maybe hundreds of miles away, who can make sure the scratch isn’t anything serious, plan how to treat it and track how it heals over time. This is an example of telemedicine, which provides health care through electronic communication.

The Amarillo VA Health Care System received $625,000 between fiscal years 2010 and 2011 to bring Mobile Telemedicine Cart devices to the Amarillo medical center, as well as to outpatient clinics in Lubbock, Childress and Clovis, N.M., spokeswoman Barbara Moore said.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is currently the largest provider of telehealth services in the U.S., American Telemedicine Association spokesman Benjamin Forstag said, and as production costs creep downward with multinational companies like Bosch and Bayer HealthCare getting into the telemedicine market, health care providers are increasingly turning to technology to see and treat patients who may live far away from the doctor’s office...