PA VA Hospital leverages telemedicine tools



In Altoona, Pennsylvania, the James E. van Zandt VA Medical Center is relying on the power of social media and other digital tools to bring information to patients in various ways that leaders there say are enhancing the care model.


Reports published by local media show how staff members are using Facebook to help veterans understand that a new kind of MRI can give them a less invasive and easier process when they come into the facility.


Described as a “helium-free MRI,” this machine decreases the length of time that’s needed to do a scan. Other bells and whistles include a larger bore as well as music and image capability to help patients enjoy the experience more.


“These patients have injuries so they cannot lay in one place for long periods of time,” Dr. Richard Samuel Magee told local news affiliate WJAC in a report published today. “The other thing about this MRI is that it has a large bore and so the veteran can get into a larger tube then they used to that eliminates claustrophobia. We have gentle music throughout the machine and they can see scenes during their scan.”


With the investment that the center has made, it makes sense to get the word out. Additional use helps the machine to pay for itself, and veterans get diagnosis that’s critical in managing a vast range of health conditions.


Also, at the same time, the center is using digital video conferencing to interface doctors with patients out in rural areas where they may encounter difficulties coming into the facility.


Increasingly, health networks are recognizing the value of telemedicine and the power of these technologies to reach patients.


Due to mobility restrictions or other issues, veterans may have a hard time accessing care the traditional way. Now they can simply log onto their desktop to get qualified medical advice.


“Telehealth continues to be a major priority for the VA,” wrote Mike Miliard in Healthcare IT News about a month ago. “It’s already responsible for the biggest telemedicine infrastructure in the nation, and use of its telehealth services is surging. The sprawling provider network continues to seek new ways to deliver better care to its members where they live, in their communities and their homes.”


Factor the power of telehealth and related advances into your medical sector portfolio.