VA Butler Healthcare

 

Telederm Team Nominated

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Mary Spencer and Emily Konar

Nurses Mary Spencer and Emily Konar take images and process them to the dermatologist via secure video Internet. (Photo by Joshua Hudson)

By Amanda Wilczynski
Friday, February 25, 2011

VA Butler Healthcare has been nominated for the "2010 Excellence in Government Award" and the "2010 Veteran Health Administration National Systems Redesign Champion Award" for its achievements in Tele-dermatology. The new "telederm" program will allow for Veterans to meet with dermatologists via secure video at the various VA outpatient clinics, which will increase services and reduce wait times for diagnosis. 

 "Being nominated for both awards is quite an honor," said Telehealth Coordinator Nancy Kummer, "but more importantly we are appreciative of the recognition for this project giving a little back to our Veterans who have given so much for us." Telederm at VA Butler Healthcare is a Store and Forward (S&F) program. This process includes taking a digital picture and uploading it to a consult that is then sent to the dermatology clinic at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare Systems.  A dermatologist looks at the picture and recommends treatment and/or follow-up. This often eliminates the Veteran needing to make a trip to Pittsburgh and significantly reduces monies spent on Fee Basis Dermatology consults. "An exciting aspect of receiving these nominations is the teamwork that occurred between two VA facilities to make this a successful project," said Kummer.

Currently, VA Butler provides three types of Telehealth: Store and Forward (S&F), Care Coordination Home Telehealth (CCHT) and Clinical Video Telehealth (CVT). The CCHT Program involves facility-based care coordinators, home monitoring equipment, and telecommunications to promote the health of Veterans, particularly those with high-risk, chronic diseases. It helps them manage their disease and avoid complications that might lead to hospitalization or permanent long-term care placement. 

The CVT Program provides an option for Veterans at VA Outpatient Clinics to have video communications with Providers physically located at VA Butler via web cam and video system technology. This program provides the same level of care for Veterans at VA Outpatient Clinics as at VA Butler and saves the Veteran both time and money traveling to and from Butler for appointments. Presently the following programs are provided through Telehealth: Mental Health, MOVE!, PTSD, and Substance Abuse groups. VA Butler will soon expand to include Tele-Smoking Cessation and Tele-Pharmacy.

"Due to the support provided to the Telehealth Programs by the leaders at our facility, VA Butler Healthcare is leading the VISN (Veterans Integrated Service Network) in [services] and also the implementation of the newer CVT and S&F programs," said Kummer.

The VA Butler Telederm Team members include Nancy Kummer, Facility Telehealth Coordinator; Robert Malec, VISN 4 Telehealth Coordinator; Doreen Zablotsky, Primary Care Clinical Coordinator/Telehealth Committee member; Emily Konar, Tele-Retinal Coordinator/Specialty Clinics LPN; Mary Spencer, Tele-Dermatology Coordinator/Specialty Clinics LPN; Amanda Walling, Clinical Applications Coordinator; and Paul Rude, Computer Specialist/Telehealth IT Lead.

Veterans interested in a Telehealth program can talk with their Primary Care Team or call Nancy Kummer, Facility Telehealth Coordinator at 724-477-5037.