it was just this past August that we wrote about the U.S. Veterans Administration’s early adopter role in telehealth technology. In a multi-strike effort to provide services to veterans who live in rural or remote areas, the VA announced in August it was adopting store-and-forward to send test scanned imaging data to specialists. At the same time, the VA reported on its use of telehealth video with VA Video Connect (with more than 1 million viewings in 2018), smartphone apps to deliver healthcare services, and a partnership to provide telehealth services for veterans in Walmart stores in remote areas.

In October the VA and related parties announced the further expansion for veterans’ telehealth services. The VA allied with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Veterans in rural areas or with limited internet access can arrange for virtual appointments at VFW or American Legion posts, eliminating the need to travel to a distant VA regional medical facility or outpatient clinic. Royal Philips healthcare technology company developed and donated “state-of-the-art, private, Internet-connected health care pods so veterans can have virtual appointments in familiar surroundings.”

The joint program, called ATLAS (Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations) demonstrates the best features of telehealth: serving remote patients in a cost-and-time-efficient manner.