Roughly 80,000 veterans took advantage of telehealth tools in more than 200,000 remote consultations in 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week.
The figures were touted Tuesday at the VA's first Connected Health Showcase in Washington, D.C., according to a story published at Military.com. In addition, the VA said that its telehealth program has reduced bed days for veterans by 58 percent and hospital admissions by 38 percent.
"[Telehealth] is really making our system much more accessible to veterans that have had difficulty in the past accessing it," VA Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel, M.D., said, according to Military.com. Petzel added, according to Stars and Stripes, that while roughly one million veterans overall currently are using telehealth in some capacity, he hopes to quadruple that number over the next few years.
"This is going to be the way we do business," he said. "This is the way medicine is going to be delivered."
The VA recently was among 289 hospitals and health systems to earn a spot on Hospitals & Health Networks annual "Most Wired" list. In particular, the Veterans Health Administration was featured in a cover story for taking technology "beyond the four walls of the hospital."
In January, the VA awarded 33 grants to improve healthcare services for female veterans, including telehealth programs in rural areas. And in Michigan, the VA committed to use telehealth for disaster relief efforts to connect first responders to doctors at VA hospitals.