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Telemed J E Health. 2003 Spring;9(1):81-8.

Making the right connection: matching patients to technology.

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  • 1VISN 8 Community Care Coordination Service, VA Medical Center, Bay Pines, Florida 33744, USA.


Although technology has sometimes been the cause of rising healthcare costs, telemedicine technology has been proposed as a means to increase productivity in the workplace and reduce resource utilization for high-risk populations. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in April of 2000, implemented an expansive telemedicine technology initiative in its Sunshine Network, covering veterans in south Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands through the Community Care Coordination Service (CCCS). The initiative uses home telehealth technology to support veteran healthcare. Choosing appropriate tools to enhance care coordination and matching technology to specific patient needs was vital to the success of the CCCS model. A technology algorithm was developed across the Network initiative and grew out of a need to identify and benchmark best practices. An evaluation methodology developed by a health economist and his research team at the University of Maryland was used to determine patient satisfaction with technology and functional status through a validated instrument. Outcomes were for 791 chronic medical and 120 mental health patients. Patient satisfaction was extremely high, patients used technology without difficulty and acceptance was greater than expected. Patients' perception of health as surveyed with the functional status instrument showed improved perception in many factors including pain, physical, and social functioning.

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