12 percent of US veterans now using VA telehealth services

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has some good news (for a change)–that during the just-closed Federal FY 2014, 690,000 veterans, or 12 percent, used telehealth services. This was a 13.3 percent increase over FY 2013 (608,900). While this report is preliminary (beware!), we see a slowing of growth in the number of veterans accessing telehealth and a concentration–not dispersal–of telehealth services in rural areas (+ 10 points). This chart compares the numbers:

click to enlarge

Chart: EIC Donna. Please note that percentage of telehealth users add up to over 100 percent due to usage (one patient could access two or three forms of telehealth. FY14 telehealth user breakout is estimate based on FY13 percentage, to be eventually compared to official figures.)

Telehealth as defined by VA:

  • Clinical Video Telehealth (CVT): real time video conferencing linking hospitals and hospitals to clinics. Includes over 44 clinical specialties such as intensive care, telemental health, cardiology, audiology, ophthalmology and dermatology. (What we define as telemedicine)
  • Home Telehealth (HT): vital signs monitoring, chronic care management, acute care management and health promotion/disease prevention. (What we define as telehealth)
  • Store & Forward Telehealth (SFT): clinical images are taken of the patient and interpreted remotely, asynchronously.

References: Adam Darkins presentation June 2014, VA news release. Also Mobihealthnews, iHealthBeatFierceHealthIT, TTA 20 June.

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