The ability to visit our doctor via computer and email is just another way that technology is changing the face of healthcare and allowing more and more people convenient access to healthcare professionals.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provided over 2.6 million telehealth episodes in the fiscal year 2019, making it the largest telehealth program in the country. In addition to a 235% increase in video visits there was a 17% increase in overall telehealth services over the previous fiscal year. During this time, more than 900,000 veterans accessed the agency’s telehealth services in a clinic or at home.
FY 2019 was the first full year of the VA’s Anywhere to Anywhere initiative, which enables care teams to treat veterans regardless of their location including across state lines or outside of a VA facility. This program is especially beneficial to Veterans living in rural areas, reducing their need to travel a considerable distance to see their doctor or healthcare team. This program allows qualified practitioners to log in to Department of Veterans Affairs Telehealth System and treat patients regardless of state licensing rules.
Video visits with a doctor or Nurse practitioner in all sectors of healthcare are on the rise and understandably so given the time limitations we all experience as we juggle jobs, homes, children, and caring for our aging parents.
Telehealth visits are being utilized by patients to treat the common cold, allergies, flu, viruses, and even mental health issues as well as drug addiction treatment. Within the VA sector, two-thirds of the 294,000 VA VIDEO CONNECT appointments for the FY 2019 were for tele-mental health services.
Video visits are also being utilized for physical therapy; a patient never has to worry about leaving home during inclement weather or dealing with treacherous walking and driving.
We continue to grow and expand ways that we can serve the men and women who have sacrificed do much for our freedoms.
Virtual doctor visits: one more way we can provide excellent quality healthcare and convenience to our Honored Veterans.