The VA Is A Telehealth Leader

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn | HealthPopuli | June 17, 2014

“Telehealth isn’t about seeing a provider by video: it’s about decision making,” Dr. Adam Darkins, leader of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Telehealth Programs, told the audience in his keynote address at the Government Health IT Conference in Washington, DC, on June 17, 2014.  Dr. Darkins, trained as a neurosurgeon, realized earlier in his career “time and again,” he said, that he should have seen his patients more frequently in-between face-to-face visits. “A good decision downstream can make a lot of difference to someone’s longevity,” Dr. Darkins recognized.

He’s worked with a team at the VA to build several flavors of telehealth to deliver care to veterans. The VA has adopted telehealth based on the strong business case of reducing bed days of care and hospital admissions which result in hard dollar savings—and better care for patients.  In 2014, the VA uses six forms of telehealth:

• Clinical video telehealth
• Home telehealth
• Store and forward
• Teleradiology
• Secure messaging
• Mobile health...