The VA is starting a test to monitor chronically ill patients with telemedicine. It’s no joke; they’ll have 25,000 plugged in.
The VA program, which is being rolled out over the next few months, will offer telephone- and computer-based technology to patients, ranging from automated medication reminders and hand-held vital sign monitors to two-way video computers like [patient’s] that are equipped with everything from a stethoscope to an electrocardiogram machine….The sickest VA patients will get a system… which is programmed to notice any test results that indicate a decline in health. When he [patient] plugs his glucose monitor into the computer, for example, the computer alerts both him and a nurse if there is a significant change from normal. At that point, a clinician calls [patinet] to talk about the problem or asks him to come to the office.