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FCW : February 2014
There s a quiet revolution going on in health care that has big implications for the future of medicine. Telemedicine, or the broader term telehealth, allows patients to receive medical examinations from primary care physicians, consult with special- ists, participate in one-on-one psy- chotherapy or counseling, and share diagnostic information using videocon- ferencing and other electronic commu- nications tools. It has mainly been used to reach those who live in rural areas, but its in uence is spreading. Although most of the technology underlying telemedicine is not particu- larly advanced, a con uence of circum- stances is conspiring to take telemedi- cine out of the realm of specialized and rural care and into everyday programs. For instance, consumer devices such as the networked pedometer Fit- bit are showing the public how monitoring and data-collec- tion tools can be used to enhance health and tness. At a deeper level, chang- es in the law, pressure from insurance carriers to reduce hospitalizations, and an increasing emphasis on preventive care and disease manage- ment HOW VA IS DRIVING TELEMEDICINE The agency s scale, vision and customer base have put it on the leading edge. But that also means being the rst to face technical and operational challenges. BY ADAM MAZMANIAN
March 15, 2014