VA Aims to Revolutionize Veteran Care with SCAN-ECHO

Kate Spies | Government Health IT | July 11, 2012

Down with the need for lengthy commutes, transportation costs, and too much time – the barriers that often decrease the quality of rural health are officially dissolving. At a conference at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning, the VA announced its launch of a new program known as Specialty Care Access Network – Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO). The program will leverage cutting-edge telehealth technology to provide specialty, comprehensive care to its veterans nationwide, regardless of where they live.

The VA’s implementation marks the first nationwide extension of ECHO.
Sanjeev Arora, MD, an innovator and liver disease specialist at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, engendered the initial spark for the ECHO project.

As a provider of chronic illness care for rural patients, Arora said his treatment was often stalled as patients struggled to commute to doctor appointments and pay for transportation. “I had the thought that if these patients had just come to me earlier, I would have been able to treat them better,” he explained at the conference...