Updated 03/07/2013 06:44 PM
Syracuse VA uses technology to connect to patients in North Country and Southern Tier
The Syracuse VA Medical Center has outpatient clinics spread out across Central New York, the Southern Tier and the North Country. That could mean a long drive for patients needing to see a doctor. But doctors at the Syracuse VA are using technology to cut down on those time consuming visits. As our Candace Hopkins found out, in some cases, doctors prefer evaluating patients from afar.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's called Telehealth, a new push to use technology to connect doctors and patients, even when those patients are far away. The practice uses stations with cameras so doctors can see and hear their patients. Staff at the Syracuse VA have been using it for the past year.
"We have patients who maybe were not able to come to the medical center or didn't want to come to the medical center and therefore were not getting some of the specialty services they needed," said Syracuse VA Chief of Primary Care John Langenberg.
That's a big help for patients located hours away from Syracuse in places like Massena and Binghamton. Thursday afternoon, staff in Syracuse were given a chance to see the equipment in action.
"With Telehealth, what this revolves around is preventative care. We can find things faster because of better access to care and that lowers E.D. rates, it lowers admission rates in the hospital. It definitely helps out our staff here and it gets people out of the hospital faster," said Syracuse VA Telehealth Coordinator Bill Ashby.
Staff says in some cases, using this equipment remotely can allow them to give even better care than they can if they're face to face with the patient.
"Looking at the skin, one of the things I found with the technology is that I could actually see skin lesions and look inside the ear somewhat better than I could actually in the office," said Langenberg.
For more information, head to www.syracuse.va.gov.