Telemedicine: 5 questions asked and answered

VHA “change agent” named to top 2016 leader list


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Dr. David Shulkin, Modern Healthcare Top 50 Most Influential Physician Executives

If you’ve seen the term “telemedicine” on the web – but wondered what it actually means – you’re not alone. While the technology that drives telemedicine is complex, the concept itself is easy to grasp. Here’s a primer on the subject:

  1. What is telemedicine?

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) defines it as “the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology. Patient consultations via video conferencing, transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education, consumer-focused wireless applications and nursing call centers, among other applications, are all considered part of telemedicine.”

As technology continues to evolve, VHA will need even more outstanding professionals to treat Veterans through telemedicine services. So whether you are a registered nurse, physician, IT specialist or something else entirely, consider a career with working for the largest health care organization in the country. 

  1. What’s the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Essentially, the words are interchangeable. The ATA states that, “in both cases, the terms are referring to the use of remote health care technology to deliver clinical services.” In fact, here is a link to research VA Telehealth Services.

  1. What are some of the advantages of telemedicine?

-Increased health care access: A patient in, say, rural Alaska can have a consultation with a medical professional in midtown Manhattan.

-Better exchange of ideas: Doctors around the world can share information about medical cases that affect entire communities.

-Reduction in hospital readmissions: With telemedicine, patients can receive substantial follow-up care at home — leading to fewer return trips to the hospital.

  1. What’s the difference between Synchronous and Asynchronous telemedicine?

Synchronous telemedicine requires the presence of both parties at the same time and a communication link between them that allows a real-time interaction to take place.

Asynchronous telemedicine involves acquiring medical data (like medical images, biosignals, voice recordings, etc.), then transmitting this data to a doctor or medical specialist at a convenient time for assessment offline.

  1. How many Veterans benefit from telemedicine?

In 2014, 690,000 former service members used VA’s national telemedicine programs. That total represents approximately 12 percent of the overall Veteran population enrolled for VA health care, and accounted for more than 2 million telemedicine visits. Of that number, approximately 55 percent were Veterans living in rural areas with limited access to VA health care.

The bottom line: Telemedicine in VA helps ensure patients get the right care in the right place at the right time – and aims to make the home into the preferred place of care, whenever possible.

VHA offers a unique proposition you won’t find in the private sector: the immense personal and professional satisfaction of helping those who have served our country in uniform. Whether you want to live in a big city or a small town, you’ll find positions across the country that provide outstanding benefits and competitive salaries. Find out more and Join VA.

Author

Dan Green