What is telehealth ? Like all good questions, the answer is not so simple. For the folks at the Virginia Telehealth Network, it is a means to a very real goal:
we are very passionate about our mission to help improve access to quality healthcare via telehealth
They define telehealth as “the utilization of information and telecommunications technologies to electronically distribute health care services and … data”. As seen on their schema to the left, telemedicine is the physician centric subset of telehealth and as such where many mobile medical apps would naturally fit in.
However, for software to play a larger role in changing health care delivery and quality, we will need to widen our focus to include modifications to the traditional role of the doctor’s office and to methods of payment. These larger topics as well as the rapidly moving landscape of mHealth are the dominion of the Virginia Telehealth Network, a non-profit whose vision is “that all Virginians should have access to high-quality healthcare regardless of their location.”
For readers of iMedicalApps, we highly recommend checking in on their mobile health page, where there is a remarkably thorough collection of news and events regarding mobile medicine. For those interested, a weekly digest is available as a newsletter.
On the VTN website (www.ehealthvirginia.org) is a wealth of information including:
- home telehealth & remote monitoring
- grant information
- Virginia Acute Stroke Telehealth (VAST) Network
- telehealth providers in Virginia
- technology “watch”
- telehealth case studies with short videos
The VTN is holding its second annual Telehealth Summit in April (agenda). The daylong meeting (part of the three day Virginia Rural Health Summit) will encompass topics including telehealth funding, reimbursement, legal issues. There will be a session on mHealth/social media to which yours truly is honored to be invited. It will be a fascinating meeting and we look forward to reporting it to iMA readers.