American TeleCare to provide telehealth technology for diabetes research by IDEATel Consortium and participate in Department of Veterans Affairs' expanding telehealth programme

Eden Prairie 28 December 2004American TeleCare Inc. has been awarded a blanket purchase agreement from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the VA's rapidly expanding telehealth programme. Blanket Purchase Agreements are a simplified method of filling anticipated repetitive needs for services and products. American TeleCare was also re-selected by the Informatics for Diabetes Education and Telemedicine (IDEATel) Consortium as the primary telehealth technology provider for another four-year, $4,5 million project serving rural and inner-city New York residents with diabetes.

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The IDEATel project is the largest telemedicine research study ever funded by the federal government with over 1600 patients to date randomized into the study. The project originally began in 2000 to study the efficacy of telemedicine in improving patients' quality-of-life and reducing overall health care costs. Because of the initial success of the project, Congress extended the study for an additional four years.

"With telemedicine, we are giving patients the tools they need to take control of their diabetes and take better care of themselves through monitoring, access to information and education", stated Steven Shea, M.D., Chief, Division of General Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, the Hamilton Southworth Professor of Medicine and Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the project's Principal Investigator. "We're delighted to continue our relationship with American TeleCare as the project's provider of home telehealth technology."

American TeleCare unveiled its first video telehealth unit 10 years ago and has continued to develop and enhance this innovative technology that is improving the lives of thousands of people throughout the United States and Canada. Now, without ever leaving the office or clinic, doctors and nurses can make personal "visits" to patients, at home, using state-of-the-art technology which simultaneously transmits voice and video combined with clinical data streams from medical peripherals such as blood pressure monitors, stethoscopes and glucose meters, all over standard telephone lines.

"It is an honour to be an integral part of the largest ever federal telemedicine research study", stated Randy Moore, M.D., CEO of American TeleCare. "What pleases us most is the positive impact telehealth has on patients. For those living with diabetes, this technology can give them the tools to take control of their disease."

The diabetes telemedicine programme is a collaborative effort led by New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, the Joslin Diabetes Center and State University of New York Upstate Medical University Syracuse, New York; the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Harlem Hospital Center, the Harlem Renaissance Network, Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Elmira, New York; Olean General Hospital, Olean, New York; Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, New York; Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Glens Falls, New York; the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

By September 30, 2005, the 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) are required to enroll 1000 patients into their telehealth-supported programmes. American TeleCare has been invited to offer its solutions to this care plan, which will cover a large number of VA patients.

"American TeleCare is pleased to offer its telehealth solution, which has been recognized as a key component in the VA's plan", stated Randy Moore, M.D., CEO of American TeleCare. "Because American TeleCare played a strong role in the introduction of video-based telehealth support for the VA, we're especially excited about introducing the benefits of telehealth to a much larger population."

This programme is building on strong telehealth programme results from VISN 11 in Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. American TeleCare worked in partnership with VISN 11 to develop its messaging solution, which was built to meet the unique needs of the VA and its care management process. Additionally, American TeleCare's messaging solutions expand on its base of video-based telehealth currently being used in a number of VISNs across the country.

American TeleCare (ATI) is dedicated to improving outcomes while lowering health care costs and has been since its formation in 1993. ATI provides technology-enabled patient care management solutions, featuring live audio/video/data communication and integrated medical peripherals. ATI's telehealth solutions enable remote, real-time clinical interactions resulting in increased efficiency in patient care delivery, improved outcomes and increased patient and clinician satisfaction while lowering costs.


Leslie Versweyveld

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