Thanks to the advanced technology of Unified Communications (UC), like video teleconferencing (VTC), the healthcare industry is making leaps and bounds in its ability to offer top-shelf care to patients regardless of location and, in the near future, regardless of ailment, thanks to telehealth.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, telemedicine has shown tremendous results in the private sector and has incredible potential in the federal arena as well. In a recently released Polycom case study, the Saint Vincent Health System in Pennsylvania reported being able to treat 65 stroke victims, reduced hospitalizations, and reported a 100% return on investment for prevention and wellness program within 60 days of implementation. In addition, they were able to provide expert care from urban doctors to rural patients.

In the case of Saint Vincent, using innovative telehealth solutions, including Bluetooth electronic stethoscopes, clinicians were able to listen to lung and heart sounds from hundreds of miles away.

Furthermore, using VTC, oncology doctors from a variety of specialties spread across the Pennsylvania health care system participate in weekly tumor board conferences. In the conferences, doctors work together to determine the best course of treatment, giving patients the benefit of having an entire team of experts examining their medical records.

For federal agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the uses of telemedicine are endless. By employing telehealth, veterans are able to avoid traveling to large, centralized VA hospitals or medical centers that can be located several hundred or even thousands of miles away and still receive the same specialized care. In addition, since excessive traveling is not necessary, doctors are able to monitor their patients more closely and more often, thereby reducing re-hospitalizations.

One of the most impressive case study findings, however, is the reported 100% return on investment of implemented programs within 60 days by expanding the reach of Saint Vincent’s services. In a federal government environment of shrinking budgets and an immediate need to go further with fewer resources, results like these are just what the doctor ordered.

With budgets consistently being reduced and diminished, any expenditure needs to be made as wisely as possible. It’s hard to argue, however, with any program that can produce a 100% ROI in two months and can offer such strong benefits to patients.

Thanks to the innovations of telehealth, our wounded men and women in uniform can now receive the health care they need and deserve regardless of their ailment or location.