How the best telehealth companies are helping veterans and first responders access the treatment they need
Telehealth companies across the nation are partnering with medical centers and regional hospitals to better serve the needs of veterans and first responders. These Americans, who have honorably served their county and communities, deserve the best possible care.
Innovation and expansion around telehealth is allowing for much-needed healthcare to these traditionally underserved groups of patients who live with injuries and chronic illnesses as a result of their service. Here are three ways a major healthcare organization can better support vets and emergency workers through virtual care.
Telemedicine Providers Address Common Conditions
Veterans and first responders often have chronic conditions that need ongoing treatment from their healthcare providers. Telehealth serves a vital role in helping maintain a connection between the patients and their doctors, allowing both parties to monitor their condition.
Below are some common conditions in these patient groups based on data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Journal of Emergency Medical Services.
Common conditions in military veterans:
- Depression and anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Prostate cancer, which is higher among veterans than non-veterans
- Parkinson’s disease, related to chemical exposure
- Hodgkin’s disease and lymphoma, related to chemical exposure
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is more common in vets
- Brucellosis, a bacterial disease common in some regions of the world
- Respiratory cancer
- Ischemic heart disease
- Musculoskeletal ailments and disease
- Agent Orange exposure-related issues
Common conditions in first responders:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Musculoskeletal ailments and disease
- Skin cancer
- Cancers and related diseases from airborne particulates and chemical exposure
- Sleep disorders
- Substance abuse
- Risk of suicide
Some conditions are more common in veterans of certain emergency situations or military campaigns. For example, veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn have higher rates of TBIs than the general public, but their condition often interferes with accessing a proper diagnosis and treatment.
There’s a well-known perceived stigma associated with seeking treatment among front-line emergency workers, including 9/11 first responders and COVID-19 pandemic workers. A National Institutes of Health study found that one in three first responders experiences stigma regarding mental health in their line of work.
Given these facts, the use of telehealth to assist these groups is an ideal solution. For example, instead of requiring a vet with a brain injury to make a risky trip to see a provider in person, a connection using the services of a telemedicine provider can be made from home. Likewise, a first responder who’s worried about the stigma of in-person appointments might finally seek help from a virtual care setting.
There is now ample evidence that consistent access to telehealth improves outcomes for a wide variety of patient conditions. New studies show telehealth can:
- Reduce heart disease-related rehospitalizations
- Improve the care of patients with diabetes
- Eliminate traditional barriers to the treatment of depression
Expanding Veterans’ Access to Telehealth Providers
New legislation is also bringing telemedicine to U.S. emergency workers and veterans. The Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to Personnel Who Served Act (GHAPS Act), for example, could expand telehealth access to rural veterans who might not otherwise secure appropriate healthcare.
Also, the VA Mission Act, which was enacted in 2018, paved the way for new legislation like the GHAPS Act. The VA Mission Act supports veterans and Veterans Administration telemedicine providers by giving authority for healthcare providers to treat vets in any location, regardless of state licensing laws.
In fact, the VA now supports remote patient monitoring as a best practice for the healthcare treatment of all U.S. veterans. It’s part of the At Home VA Health program, which encourages veterans to use their home computers and smart devices to stay connected with their healthcare providers.
Taking a Place Among the Best Telehealth Companies
Here’s more excellent news on the topic of expanding telehealth access for veterans and first responders. AMC Health, one of the nation’s leading telemedicine providers, was recently awarded the Authority to Operate (ATO) as one of the preferred telehealth providers for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
AMC Health offers a suite of telehealth services that empower people, maximize resource management, and improve patient outcomes. For more information about our telehealth solutions for veterans and first responders, please reach out to us and schedule a demo.