VA To Double Telehealth Consults To Veterans

Eric Wicklund | Government Health IT | November 2, 2012

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which used telehealth to connect with an estimated 460,000 veterans in the past year, is looking to double that number in the coming year with an aggressive campaign that includes new and expanded services. The VA's program, instituted in 2003, recorded 1.3 million consultations in the past year, according to Adam Darkins, MD, the VA's chief consultant for telehealth services.

That includes video consults, "store-and-forward" telehealth (in which digital images, video, audio, so-called "observations of daily living" and clinical data are captured and stored on a client computer or mobile device, then forwarded at a convenient time to appropriate caregivers) and home monitoring of an estimated 75,000 veterans suffering from one or more chronic conditions.

Darkins, speaking at the Center for Connected Health's Connected Health Symposium last week in Boston, said the VA is poised to boost its video consult program into the home and add more mHealth programs, e-consults and teleradiology programs to reach some 825,000 veterans by the end of 2013...