Virtual doctor's appointments helps veterans received care

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) Virtual doctor's appointments are now available for military veterans, providing them the opportunity to receive medical attention right in the comfort of their homes.

“You send a message to your provider and if they have the time to log on, then you can log on with them as well," said veteran Kisha Wallace as she described the VA’s Telehealth Program, which allowed her to complete her most recent doctors visit via video chat.

Related: Some turn to 'telemedicine' to avoid doctor's office

“Are you feeling ok” asked Kisha’s cardiologists, Dr. Arash Harzand.

Dr. Harzand wasn’t the only person on the call, a pharmacist, social worker and her caregiver were all part of the video chat. Each of them comparing notes and double-checking the patients info.

Harzand says this Telehealth Program is part of the VA's latest effort to reach veterans who need to see a doctor right away, those who have transportation barriers or live far away.

“It’s an area of need and we are now able to offer care to veterans with heart disease who otherwise would have to drive 2-3 hours to get here,” she added.

So far the program has been extremely helpful to those in rural areas where there is limited access to medical providers. Doctors even have to ability to remotely check a patients vitals.

“We have a bluetooth stethoscope. We can send them weight scales, we have a pulse oximeter, we have a lot of tools that we can use,” added Harzard.

Right now there are about 3,000 patients enrolled in the Atlanta VA Telehealth Program. Officials say this fiscal year alone they will exceed 9,000 virtual appointments and for those without access to internet or a smart device, the VA will provide both for free.

The patient will be loaned a VA device with the internet purchased through Verizon as well, so through our rural areas our patient will have coverage through the VA”, said Michael Burton the director of the Telehealth Program.

As for Kisha, she says the best part of the program is avoiding traffic.

"It’s convenient because I could get an appointment sooner and I didn’t have to drive in. I didn’t have to come into the hospital to make it a little more convenient for me."

Any veteran can sign up for a Telehealth Program all they have to do is contact their medical provider.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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