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VA Health

There are 8 Veteran Affairs clinics across North Dakota, but only one hospital, and it's all the way on the east side of the state.

Often times, it's too difficult for many of our vets to travel to Fargo, but now they're offering a more high-tech option.

Brittney Jacob is the Bismarck VA Clinic's TeleHealth technician, and helps around 3,800 patients meet with Fargo doctors through computers and cameras.

So rather than driving 3 hours every few months, they can make an appointment and connect with physicians in seconds.

"Which is really good for the veterans as well because I mean everyone knows when you go to the doctor your appointment is at 9:00 but you might not be seen until 9:30 or 10. That's how it goes. TeleHealth is spot on," Jacob says.

And patients can be seen for just about anything.

"To see a cardiologist they put these ear muffs on on the Fargo end. We do the heart and lung sounds on this end, and they hear them just like they would if they were right next to them," Jacob says. 

They can also look in your ears, check out suspicious moles and hold group classes, all from hundreds of miles away.

Administrative Officer Kim Ehrmantraut knows the system well and has had many appointments through these cameras.

As a veteran herself, she knows how much this technology can help the other service-members in our community.

"I think the drive to Fargo, even for somebody my age, it takes a whole day off of work. It takes two and a half to three hours to get there. Three hours back. So to do it in one day is a lot, so I think people really like this technology coming out," Ehrmantraut says.

And it's not just veterans living in Bismarck that are benefiting from this technology.

All 8 VA clinics across North Dakota have TeleHealth systems, so veterans in every corner of the state can get the health care they deserve.

The next step in Tele-health is advancing their home care.

Patients will be able to video chat with doctors in Fargo without having to leave town or even their homes.

By Macey Egeland
KX News
Published April 8, 2015

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