Vets Can Have 'Virtual' Visit With Doctor

Now VA patients can send implantable defibrillator information via phone

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WEDNESDAY, May 14, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- VA medical centers will now be equipped with an Internet-based service that connects cardiac patients and their doctors for "virtual" office visits, says the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The use of the Medtronic CareLink Network means VA patients across the country will be able to provide information from their implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) to their doctors over the phone.

Implantable defibrillators are devices that detect heart rhythm abnormalities.

That will make a huge difference to some VA patients who've been traveling hundreds of miles to have their ICDs checked. Now, they can relay that information from home.

To use this new system, patients collect their ICD data by holding a small antenna-like monitor over their ICD. The monitor automatically downloads the data and transmits it through a standard telephone connection to the secure Medtronic CareLink Network.

The patient's doctor accesses the data by logging onto the Web site. Patients also can view information about their ICD and condition by going to a personalized Web site.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about implantable defibrillators.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, news release, May 14, 2003

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