GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Access to healthcare for veterans in the VA system is now more convenient thanks to a growing telehealth service in North Carolina.
The service uses real-time interactive video conferencing to connect the patient to the provider.
It is much more convenient for veterans in rural areas or with a lot of distance between them and the Durham VA clinic.
Normally, they’d have to make the drive all the way to Durham to see a specialist.
For Marine Corps veteran Jeff Hardy, this is his third telehealth appointment at the Greenville VA clinic.
Hardy lives in New Bern and was diagnosed with a blood disease last year.
The telehealth system has saved him a lot of time and frustration.
“I don’t have to drive the six or seven hours to Durham and back,” said Hardy. “It’s a two hour round trip.”
Telehealth is an evolving technology meant to make doctors’ appointments easier that is becoming more popular among local veterans.
“The provider can call into the veteran while I have the veteran sitting right here and we’ll do certain appointments like telehealth dermatology, hematology, oncology,” said Vincent Hayes, a telehealth clinical technician.
Hayes sees dozens of patients a week and is responsible for connecting the patient with the provider and checking vitals.
Patients are able to access the service from home.
“They can just use their smart device and connect to us right through that smart device,” said Hayes.
Patients can use a computer, smartphone or tablet with a strong internet connection.
The system is proven to decrease the number of veterans waiting for care and waiting to schedule doctor’s appointments to see specialists.
“I’ve never been delayed in anything and if you go up to Durham, there are no guarantees,” said Hardy. “Here it’s always been on time.”
As a Marine Corps veteran who served as a pilot in Vietnam, being on time is appreciated.
This telehealth system is something he recommends to fellow veterans.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s very simple,” said Hardy.
If you’d like to learn more about telehealth, contact your local VA representative.