Telehealth is an exciting technology used to provide clinical care in circumstances where distance separates those receiving services and those providing services. The VA has been recognized as a leader in implementing telehealth and provides a variety of services through telehealth. Telehealth services provide more timely access to providers and services and reduce travel time and distance for both veterans and providers.
The Secretary of VA approved a Telehealth Expansion Initiative in May 2011, and the primary focus on the expansion is Clinical Video Telehealth. The most common use currently of Clinical Video Telehealth is Real-Time technology. Both the patient and provider are present at the same time and are able to have real-time interaction through the use of video-conferencing equipment. A variety of services are provided through Clinical Video Telehealth, including:
- Mental Health
- Spinal Cord Injuries/Disorders
- Primary Care
- Nutrition Education
I daily use Clinical Video Telehealth through my work as a MOVE! weight management dietitian. I am a part of the VISN 19 MOVE! team, which includes myself, a behavioral health counselor and a physical activity specialist. Our team is based in Denver and teaches weight management skills to patients in Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) through a five state region. This allows us to provide weight management services to rural clinics which might not otherwise receive this program.
Clinical Video Telehealth is not without challenges, but through training and experience we improve our skills each day and provide excellent services to the veterans we serve. If you have questions about Clinical Video Telehealth, please contact your local VA to determine what services are available in your area.
Leah Stephens has been a dietitian with the Eastern Colorado Health Care Services VA for 2 years. Her primary focus is weight management. She is also a Certified Diabetes Educator and enjoys teaching patients the skills necessary to manage diabetes.