- Introduction: A Top-Level Look at the Future of Federal Medicine
- Military Health System in Time of Transition as Conflicts End
- Army Medicine: Redefining Its Role in the Generation of a Ready and Resilient Force
- Air Force Medicine: Averting an Identity Crisis
- Moving Forward with Reforming the Indian Health Service
- The Clinical Pharmacy Specialist's Growing Provider Role in VA
- Public Health Service Pharmacy: Accelerating Transformation
- Military Pain Management’s Future: Less Invasive, More Data-Driven Techniques
- Navy Medicine: Strong, Agile and Ready
- Telemental Health in VA: A New Source of Support for Veterans
Regional and National Models
Telemental health in VA continues to expand. It is moving beyond individual facilities; regional and national networks of care are developing. VA has a National Telemental Health Center that coordinates panels of clinical experts across the country. Using telehealth, these experts can now deliver mental health clinical services to veterans throughout the country, addressing such issues as serious mental illnesses, chronic pain, compensation and pension exams, as well as complex specialized diagnoses.
VA is creating a large network to provide evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD via telemental health. This is of particular importance in our ongoing focus on delivering excellence of care to the veterans returning from current conflicts and those who continue to struggle with the after-effects of previous wars.
Patient satisfaction is very important to VHA. In 2012, patient satisfaction scored 93% on VHA telehealth satisfaction ratings.
VHA researchers have demonstrated that telemental health can be as effective as in- person visits for a full range of services. VHA also has seen overall decreases in hospitalization rates in veterans who participate in telemental-health services. Telehealth allows us to manage our veteran patients more closely; we can provide them with the care they need, when they need it, instead of waiting until they are hospitalized.
The Future of Telemental Health in VHA
Our strategic focus for telemental healthcare is to ensure mental-health services are accessible to veterans anytime, anywhere, based upon the needs and preferences of the veteran.
We are working to make telemental-health services available to veterans at all VA community-based outpatient clinics, thus eliminating any gaps in services.
VA’s objective is to ensure that any mental-health service available at our main VHA healthcare facilities also is available via telemental health at our clinics. Our goal for the next fiscal year is to deliver at least 300,000 telemental-health visits to 115,000 veterans. More than 10,000 of these veterans will receive this care in their homes.
We are prioritizing telemental-health services delivered directly into the home, as well as the use of mobile applications (mHealth). Mobile apps will be of great assistance to those who have difficulty leaving their homes because of medical or psychiatric limitations.
Mobile apps also will enable those recovering from mental-health conditions to have the least possible disruption to their work and other activities while accessing the VA care they need.
Ultimately, our goal is to help veterans manage their care, no matter where they happen to be.