VA employs telehealth technology to provide Veterans same-day appointments and increased access to care


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Boyd Loehr, a primary care registered nurse with the VA San Diego Healthcare System, is finding remarkable success increasing Veteran access to quality care using  VA’s digital health technologies.

Loehr recalled a recent episode where VA flagged a Veteran with abnormally high blood pressure readings. Loehr coordinated a Clinical Video Telehealth appointment with the patient’s interdisciplinary care team and was able to verify that the Veteran’s readings were actually lower than what had been initially reported.

By using video technology, Loehr spared the Veteran from traveling more than three hours in a VA van for an in-person appointment with his physician, which ultimately opened up an appointment for another Veteran who truly required in-person care.

Loehr frequently encourages the use of video telehealth to offer same-day appointments . When a Veteran requests a video appointment, Loehr gets in contact with them to schedule a convenient time and sends a link to rapidly connect to a private video teleconference using VA Video Connect.

“The convenience factor is key to the success of telehealth,” Loehr said. “Veterans get the attention they need almost immediately and that is especially rewarding.”

Telehealth technology ensures Veteran patients receive the right care at the right time and often in the comfort of their own home.

“Veterans like it because it’s almost like an old-fashioned home visit and for providers it’s like we are right there with them,” Loehr said.

Additionally, Loehr worked with Drs. Leonie Heyworth and Margaret Carrico to deploy a national, multi-site home blood pressure telehealth pilot study.  The pilot study brings the nursing hypertension clinic visit to the Veteran, in their home, via VA Video Connect.

The success of the pilot study could prove beneficial to many Veterans. Loehr and other VA health care team members have noticed Veterans’ blood pressures are sometimes elevated at in-person clinic appointments, which may be attributed to their stress from having to travel to the VA medical facility.

“I think patients really appreciate not having to travel. That’s huge especially in a county like San Diego, where it can take 45 minutes to an hour to get somewhere, even in the urban corridor,” Loehr said.

Allowing Veterans to access care from their home, or wherever is most convenient, is at the core of the VA Telehealth Services success, as the program continues to expand with new capabilities like the VA Video Connect home hypertension pilot.

To learn more about VA’s Telehealth Services, visit https://www.telehealth.va.gov/.

Author

Alan Greilsamer

Comments

  1. Robert    

    I moved to Oahu Hawaii when I tried to complete anything at any location – the programs were no help- it kept taking me round and round to get no where
    no replays no call backs.– I went to vet centers– the va discontinued their link- and they were no help” I can’t get my Ned’s refilled – the meds keep expiring – I can’t get the Drs to reapply .

    scams posing as va say give percent increases by paying $1800.00 to fill out Drs paperwork
    —??? and then ???

  2. Dennis Bytheway    

    Fix the Directors not the mechanics.

    Mechanics are just a convenience…
    Directors are necessity and they need repair.

  3. zakariya guenda    

    when I attempted to finish anything at any area – the projects were no assistance it continued taking me all around to get nowhere

    no replays no call backs.– I went to vet centers– the va ceased their connection and they were no assistance” I can’t get my Ned’s refilled – the meds continue terminating – I can’t get the Drs to reapply.

  4. Benjamin Lucciola    

    Get a fifth grader to set up this site so that it is easier to follow.

  5. Benjamin Lucciola    

    I suffered a service-connected disability while in the Artillery. (1957-59; 1961-1962) A hearing loss. The loss had prevented me for years from getting what the Veterans Appeals Board call, “Meaningful employment.” I trained to be a teacher and I was great at my job. As the years went by so did my hearing and as a result, I could not get any decent employment in any school. So, I opted to move overseas and work in foreign schools for less than half the pay I made in the US. I was forced to leave the USA because I had no money and because I got no help. I moved to Thailand, Indonesia and now settled in Cambodia where at least I can pay the rent and eat locally. The Veterans documents state that if one cannot find employment as a result of his/her service-connected disability, one would receive 100% disability. I get 40% which does not even pay half the rent in the US. Now, as a result of the hearing loss, I am suffering from balance (equilibrium) problems. I fall and have fallen many times. The Veterans Appeals Board state hearing loss and balance problems are not related. Where did these people go to school? I was in balance therapy trying to fix the problem, but as I aged (80) now the problem got worst. I suffered depression, but the Appeals Board again state, they are not related. I truly believe that the members of the appeals board had never served in the military and should not be dealing with veteran problems. I think they are waiting for me to die before they make another final decision. I have lost contact with the board now since I have no information on how to reach them. GO TO HELL you Democrats.

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