A recent press release from the Office of Veterans Affairs shows just how serious the VA is about telehealth. The release stated that in fiscal year 2014, the VA saw 690,000 patients via telehealth. That’s pretty significant. But more importantly for NRTRC’s region, the number of rural vets who were seen by telehealth was 44% of that total. (The Northwest probably has more rural veterans than any other seven-state region and could undoubtedly push that percentage much higher.) VA offers numerous specialty services through their telehealth program and is leading the way into the future with a significant amount of in-home monitoring of chronically ill vets. This remote monitoring means that the vets can avoid traveling to big cities where VA hospitals are located. Remote monitoring can help our veterans avoid emergency room visits and re-hospitalizations by having their chronic conditions monitored and tended to before they become critical. The VA is truly a leader in telehealth and their accent on rural patients is a good model for any healthcare organization.
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