VA enlists telehealth for disasters

Technology to connect medical professionals and first responders in the field to specialist physicians at VA hospital
By Mike Miliard
10:54 AM

Office of Emergency Management of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Ann Arbor, Mich., has awarded a contract to Troop Health Initiatives for the JEMS Technology Disaster Relief Telehealth System.

The JEMS systems will be used by the VA as a disaster relief telehealth unit, officials say, connecting medical professionals and first responders in the field to specialist physicians at the VA hospital.

"The Office of Emergency Management at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System supports emergency operations from four treatment sites that serve 21 counties in Michigan and Ohio," said Christopher Roe, federal emergency manager of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in a press statement. "Also in Michigan, the VA supports emergency and disaster preparedness efforts as a member of the Region 2 South Healthcare Coalition. The organization is eagerly anticipating delivery of the new JEMS Disaster Relief Telehealth Unit."

Orion, Mich.-based JEMS Technology specializes in secure, encrypted real-time video to hand held devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Android-based phones and tablets. Bay City, Mich.-based THI is a JEMS Technology government and commercial reseller.

Using the JEMS Disaster Relief Telehealth System, medical professionals can send live streaming video to a specialty physician via a JEMS mobile unit. The specialist will be able to review the video on their smart device in real time and respond with medical advice. The JEMS system is easy to use and has been proven in challenging environments.  

"The ability to deliver a proven, reliable telehealth resource to the VA helps medical professionals deliver the highest quality of care to veterans and their families," said Susan Pfund, owner of THI, in a statement.

Pfund, a 20-year critical care nurse and a service-disabled retired Air Force captain, adds that the JEMS system "ensures that in an emergency situation – when that critical, expert care is needed the most – healthcare professionals can access the expertise of specialists, ultimately improving the outcome of care for patients."

"The recent Telehealth Promotion Act signals that the federal government is serious about telehealth, and the VA is leading the way," said Kevin Lasser, CEO of JEMS Technology.  "With its experience and expertise in telehealth, and its partnership with THI, JEMS is uniquely positioned to provide the technology the government needs to make sure patients have access specialized care, no matter their location."

"It's estimated that over the coming years, the government will spend more than $1 billion on telehealth," said Pfund. "THI and JEMS Technology are ready to support that commitment to making specialty care available everywhere."

[See also: VA inks $543M RTLS contract for 152 medical centers nationwide]

Mobile, Telehealth
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