The United Kingdom's National Health Service would benefit from emulating telehealth services developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration, according to a recent report by not-for-profit group 2020health, Modern Healthcare reports.
About VA's Telehealth System
According to the report, 50,000 VA patients use telehealth services, making VA "the world's No. 1 provider of telehealth at scale."
2020health predicts further growth in the telehealth industry, stating that VA's deployment of telehealth services "represents a vital element in the shift toward more home-based care, reducing the imbalance between hospital and primary care spending and making better use of scarce clinical resources."
Implications for NHS
The report states that "as a fully integrated, national health care system that is both funded and operated by the federal government, the (VA) has many parallels with the NHS."
NHS currently spends about 70% of its budget on 15 million patients with chronic medical conditions. According to the report, such patients could benefit from care administered through a telehealth system.
The report's authors recommend that NHS establish a telehealth system that builds on VA's experiences and serves as a "centralized care-coordination service on a local/regional basis" (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 1/19).