It used to be that veterans weren’t able to get the quality care they needed, but that is about to change. The Veterans Affairs Department recently started looking into ways they can improve overall care for those living in rural areas with chronic or severe conditions. In January 2017, a telehealth collaborative study surveyed roughly 800 veterans living in Georgia and Texas with some form of human immunodeficiency virus. They want to make sure that veterans are able to gain access to HIV testing and care, regardless of whether they live in the city or out in the country.
When you compare the treatment veterans received in rural care to that of those in the city, the level of care isn’t even close. In fact, those who live in rural areas don’t receive the best treatments and often have a lower survival rate. All of that needs to change. Because Alaska has a lower population overall, they don’t have a lot of HIV patients there. However, that doesn’t mean that they still don’t need the level of care that other areas provide. With smaller communities, the options available are almost non-existent.
The VA currently has roughly 50 telehealth specialties. During 2016 alone, roughly 700,000 veterans went to a total of 2,000,000 telehealth appointments. That’s a lot of people being served in just one year alone. Based on studies, roughly 18 percent of the 24,000 veterans undergoing treatment for HUV infections live in one of the rural areas in the US. Those individuals have limited access to the level of care they need to treat their disease.
The level of care in each state varies. With the help of telehealth, patients are able to gain access to the level of care needed. This system is going to help patients manage their chronic diseases both in face and via video. The key is getting the provider the information needed to treat the patient in the quickest manner possible.