Preventive Cardiology in the Digital and COVID-19 Era: A Brave New World within the Veterans Health Administration

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Nov 24;9(12):1623. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9121623.


The past year challenged patients, health care providers, and health systems alike to adapt and recalibrate to meet healthcare needs within pandemic constraints. The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has radically interfered with the accessibility and delivery of cardiovascular care in the United States. With an emphasis on social distancing and stay-at-home orders in effect, many Americans delayed seeking routine medical care and treatment for acute cardiac symptoms due to fear of contracting the coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic compelled a rapid shift toward virtual care solutions across cardiovascular domains. The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expanded virtual modalities, notably in specialty care and rehabilitation, which offered secure solutions to maintain treatment continuity. Within the VA and other health systems, virtual cardiac rehabilitation (CR) was embraced as an efficacious alternative to on-site cardiac rehabilitation that enabled patients to receive cardiac care remotely. Leveraging the infrastructure and lessons learned from the pandemic-induced expansion of virtual care carries enormous potential to refine virtual CR and revitalize future treatment paradigms for cardiovascular disease patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; cardiac rehabilitation; cardiovascular diseases; telemedicine; telerehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review