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Medtronic Is Bringing Telehealth to Veterans


The medical device company struck a new contract with the VA.

veterans affairs,telehealth,medtronic,hca news

Image has been resized. US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rusty Frank

How can the sprawling US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) effectively treat its millions of enrolled patients? Telemedicine appears to be part of the answer.

Medtronic, the healthcare device company headquartered in Ireland, announced today plans to launch “new telehealth solutions” to meet the demands of a new remote medicine contract with the government agency. The batch of innovations includes “new technology platforms and multiple integrated diagnostic devices,” which are designed to meet various clinical needs and tech literacy levels, the company noted.

Sheri Dodd, vice president and general manager of Medtronic Care Management Services, said in a statement that the business is “honored” to continue serving veterans. That branch of the company has been working with the VA since 2011, and it has helped treat more than 310,000 vets.

“Our expanded offering is designed to provide more patient choice and flexibility to better meet individual health needs,” Dodd said. “We continue to deliver on our commitment to the VA and are excited to start doing so under this new Home Telehealth contract.”

The effort focuses on veterans with “complex, chronic, co-morbid” conditions, according to Medtronic. It enables patients to undergo a daily health exam from the comfort of their homes, connecting them with condition education and “clinical question sets” that evolve with patient responses, according to the announcement.

The suite, Medtronic said, contains “the largest portfolio of patient engagement platforms available” under the contract and an “extensive library” of disease management protocols.

When vets submit information, it jets over to providers through a secure software platform, arming them with the knowledge to pursue interventions when necessary, according to Medtronic.

That’s important because prior beneficiaries of VA telehealth initiatives who lasted at least a year saw a 19% average decline in hospital admissions, according to Medtronic. The cost of care, meanwhile, slumped by 4%.

This is but the VA’s latest step toward a healthcare system augmented by digital, remote services. Congress, for instance, passed a bipartisan bill earlier this month allowing VA physicians to more widely practice telemedicine.

Just last week, some VA patients became eligible to receive free access to a cognitive therapy app called Constant Therapy. The mobile health solution enables veterans to undergo rehabilitation and speech therapy after traumatic brain injuries, aphasia, and strokes—all of which affect soldiers at higher rates than the general public due to battlefield conditions. The Learning Corp. agreed to provide the tech for certain patients at no charge, a bet on mHealth and its promise for treating veterans.

Medtronic, meanwhile, has been busy. Its care management division recently teamed up with the telehealth company American Well to offer each company’s services to the 2 member bases. American Well’s senior vice president told Healthcare Analytics News™ at the time that Medtronic boasts “the richest offering in remote patient monitoring.”

After nearly 70 years of business, the device company has increasingly turned toward the digital and remote health markets. Medtronic Care Management Services, specifically, serves colossal organizations like the VA and hospitals, clinics, and more.

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