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VA, Air Force Expand Tele-ICU Program for Patient Care

A tele-ICU collaboration between the VA and the Air Force aims to extend patient care for service members in critical condition.

Tele-ICU between the VA and Air Force aims to extend patient care

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

A collaboration between the VA’s Midwest Healthcare Network and the Air Force’s Medical Operations Agency will open a tele-ICU program to Air Force servicemen at five military treatment centers across the country.

Through this new agreement, the Air Force now can access the VA’s centralized tele-ICU capabilities in Minneapolis.

“For VA, telehealth is revolutionizing the way we practice medicine,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin, who also sees patients by telehealth. “Tele-ICU is more than just a way of providing remote care.”

“We know it improves the quality of care, decreases costs by supporting evidence-based practices and it improves patient outcomes through decreased ventilator days, ventilator-associated pneumonias and reduced lengths of stay. We are pleased to partner with the Air Force in this effort.”

The centralized tele-ICU center will provide specialty care to vulnerable patients at treatment centers in Las Vegas, NV, Hampton, VA, Biloxi, MS, Dayton, OH, and Anchorage, AK.

Through live audio and video feeds, patients can consult with tele-ICU specialists and critical care nurses, as well get updates on their condition status through telecommunication. Specialists can use tele-ICU technology as a way to consult with family members, prescribe medications, order tests, and make diagnoses.

Leaders at both the VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) believe the partnership is a significant step forward in healthcare delivery to veterans and servicemen.

“Collaborative partnerships, such as this agreement with VA, help us provide the best possible care to our service members, military family members and retirees who receive health care through the Department of Defense,” said Dr. David Smith, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

Recently, the VA announced another investment in tele-ICU technology. A new program will connect Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVAHCS) and the Cincinnati VA Tele-ICU Monitoring Center to deliver quality intensive care for veterans who can’t immediately reach an ICU specialist.

“We are very excited to partner with the Tele-ICU Monitoring Center at the Cincinnati VA Medical,” said Mark Morgan, EOVAHCS Director. “Tele-ICU exemplifies how the VA is leveraging advanced technologies to provide the highest quality services to Veterans.”

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