The VA is using mobile health technology to support their patient-centered healthcare delivery model. As part of the VA’s Mobile Health program, the Department is going to release a series of secure Apps to enable wireless technologies to support veterans, caregivers, and VA care teams. Each set of Apps will focus on empowering users with the tools they need to facilitate, manage, and organize their healthcare information to improve data sharing.
The VA’s Mobile Health program is driven by pilot programs that assess the technologies used and evaluate how they increase the convenience of healthcare management. The pilots support a range of healthcare management tools and facilitate day-to-day administrative needs.
For example, the VA Mobile Health Clinician Pilot conducted during the fall of 2011 successfully provided mobile access to patient information and improved accessibility, productivity, and workflow for the participants. The pilot also analyzes security-related issues associated with mobile devices on the VA’s network at the Washington D.C VA Medical Center.
During the pilot, 30 VA clinicians tested iPhone and iPad Apps making critical information from a patient’s EHR available in real-time and on-the-go. The pilot’s results has enabled the VA to move forward with an enterprise-wide deployment of Mobile Health Apps for clinicians.
Another pilot, the VA Mobile Health Family Caregiver enabled the VA to loan iPads pre-loaded with Mobile Health Apps to 1,000 randomly selected caregivers already enrolled in the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
The iPad’s Apps are available to support the caregivers and veterans they assist by providing EHR clinical information, disease management support, electronic coaching, and the Apps helps to manage and coordinate care.
The third pilot, the VA Mobile Health Browser is working on Apps to run on mobile browsers to increase the efficiency, convenience, and accessibility of VA healthcare across multiple mobile platforms. The Mobile Health Browser is designed to allow veterans to export their data and make online requests for primary care and make mental health appointments.
When the Apps are deployed, they will be available through the VA App Library. In the future, the VA will release a suite of mobile web Apps that will be accessible via web-enabled devices. However, Apps designed specifically for VA clinicians will only be available through the VA’s intranet and the Apps will be secured in a variety of ways to ensure the privacy of healthcare information.