The Department of Veterans Affairs, already one of the largest users of telehealth in the US through its Office of Telehealth Services, awarded today six national contracts for ‘home telehealth devices and services.’ Announcing in their own releases are Cardiocom and Authentidate. (No release on the VA website.) Both companies will provide IVR (interactive voice response) systems. For Cardiocom, the contract includes their home telehealth system (scale, pulse oximeter, blood pressure), IVR and patient management software; for Authentidate, the ExpressMD Electronic House Call (EHC) and their IVR systems. The contract is awarded for five years, one year as base and four annual renewals.
UPDATE 12 April: According to Modern Healthcare today, the other four finalists are American Telecare (ATI), Bosch Group’s HealthHero Network (Health Buddy) plus Visual Telecommunication Network/ViTelCare units, and Bayer HealthCare’s Viterion TeleHealthcare. Still no release on the VA website itself.
UPDATE 14 April: According to FierceMobileHealthcare, the VA is spending a total of–count it–$1.38 billion. The individual vendor contracts run anywhere from $150 million to $372 million over the five-year period. They aren’t identified save one; Viterion’s is the smallest. In perspective, the smallest is slightly less than the entire annual budget in 2010. These revenues can essentially make companies viable overnight–or break the ones which bet on their ship coming in. And yes, Ed. Donna agrees…this is a big VA vote for telehealth. Another interesting comment: in the article and attributed to Authentidate officials, the contract covers sensor-based remote monitoring systems in patient homes which is not descriptive of any of the approved systems. An error or something overlooked?
UPDATE 20 April: ATI’s press release cites their offering to the VA as miLife which combines video consult capabilities with telehealth monitoring. One surprise in the release: their relationship goes back to 1999–was there even telehealth then?