Health IT, Hospitals

VA tests live telemedicine for primary care (video)

Until very recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs only offered real-time video telehealth services for specialty and ancillary care, not for primary care.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has invested millions of dollars in telemedicine for years; it treated 690,000 people remotely in fiscal year 2014. But until very recently, the VA only offered real-time video telehealth services for specialty and ancillary care, not for primary care.

A pilot underway in three VA facilities, including the VA San Diego Healthcare System, is changing that, as KGTV in San Diego reported. The technology shouldn’t surprise any regular MedCity News readers, but the way the TV station reports it brings the story home for the uninitiated.

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More importantly, the patients get it, and seem to appreciate the option of receiving care in their own homes. “This is a modern miracle,” Air Force veteran Charles Rowland said in the segment. “This is the wave of the future, and it’s right now.”

We noticed that Rowland had a BL Healthcare Access Tablet with a built-in cellular connection. The short clip didn’t show which brands of Bluetooth blood-pressure cuffs or home stethoscopes the VA is using for the pilot, but the BL Healthcare tablet is built to handle such accessories.

Photo: Flickr user U.S. Department of Agriculture