Connecting Rural Vets to Providers

The VA is continuing to develop new digital solutions to give rural veterans more access to their healthcare teams. To meet this need, the VA Office of Connected Care has developed the Patient Viewer App so now it is possible to see information on consults, medications, problem lists, vital signs, and lab results.

The Office of Connected Care has just completed a field test on the app. For the last several years and has been delivering iPads out into the filed primarily into the hands of their clinical end users to further test the app.

So far, the Office has a couple of hundred people participating in using the app in their daily clinical workflows and providing feedback. The Office plans to release the app nationally later this summer.

In addition, a new app still being tested called VA Video Connect, enables patients to conduct video visits with VA providers using their personal mobile devices.VA Video Connect enables veterans who live far from medical centers or if their health conditions prevent them from traveling, to hold live video appointments from the phone, desktop, or tablet.

In other successful VA actions, regional and national telehealth hubs are now serving areas of the country where there are few specialty providers serving the community. Funding was made available over the past year from the VA’s Office of Rural Health which has enabled the VA to open telemental hubs in Pittsburgh, Charleston South Carolina, Salt Lake City, Utah, the Pacific Northwest, New York City, West Haven Connecticut, Honolulu, Sioux Falls South Dakota, and Harlingen Texas.

Hubs are also forming to support the delivery of primary care in Boise, Idaho, Little Rock, Arkansas, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Prescott Arizona and will be available to other remote locations.

Several new developments are beginning to take place. VA’s telegenomic medicine services based in Utah, provides genomic medicine and counseling services to more than 80 VA medical centers. In addition, two TeleICU centers in Minneapolis, and Chicago provide additional support to intensive care unit staff serving about 300 VA ICU beds across the country.

There is another VA program called the “VHA Innovation Program” which helps employees, external academics, and the private sector submit healthcare ideas for review and development.  The VHA Innovation Program recently released the Future Technology Laboratory’s (FTL) latest eBook which is publicly accessible with current information on the Laboratory.

The FTL provides many useful services and is a technical resource for VA employees, contractors, and third party developers that are actively working to develop software to improve healthcare for veterans.

To find out the latest news, go to the Office of Connected Care, at https://connectedcare.va.gov.

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