Telecare Gaining a Tiny Toehold?

A Veterans Affairs Department medical center is using telecommunications technology to expand its psychiatry practice to a Vermont community health clinic near the U.S.-Canadian border, allowing for one-on-one consultations between doctor and patient 128 miles apart.

In a pilot project, Andrew Pomerantz and six other psychiatrists and psychologists at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt., are counseling patients from the Northern Tier Center for Health's clinic in Richford, Vt., through Web cameras, reaching people who sometimes went without such services.

The service, which will be expanded to three sites in New Hampshire, is available to veterans, members of the Vermont National Guard and their families.

The VA center has been using tele-psychiatry—which dates to the 1960s—with patients at a Bennington, Vt., VA clinic for several years. But this is the first time the VA has partnered with an outside entity to provide the care.

In November, the VA installed a high-speed line allowing direct audio-visual communication, a 27-inch TV screen and a Web camera and microphone in the Richford clinic. Associated Press

Fascinating. An American-Well like concept being piloted at a Vermont VA.

If National Guard members and their families begin to use the service with any discernible uptake this may help blow some arguments about the 'tech literacy' of users required for telehealth adoption right out of the water.

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous

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