Jacob Gadd, deputy director for health in the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitaton Division, took part in a demo this week of the Department of Veterans Affairs mobile applications at VA Central Office.
VA is attempting to revolutionize health care for veterans, caregivers and VA care teams through its mobile apps, expanding health care for veterans beyond traditional office visits. The goal is to enhance medical care through convenient access to information for both patients and providers, increase communications between patients and care teams, and empower veterans to be active participants in their health and health care.
In May 2013, VA began providing a series of secure mobile apps to veterans and caregivers as part of an initial pilot testing phase. The pilots are designed to ensure maximum functionality once the apps are released to the greater veteran community.
One of the programs – the Family Caregiver Pilot – provides loaner iPads to nearly 1,000 caregivers already enrolled in VA’s Family Caregiver Program for seriously injured post-9/11 veterans. The iPads come loaded with nine apps created to help caregivers and the veterans they assist. The 12-month pilot features technology that allows veterans and caregivers secure access to health-care information, the ability to track personal health-related information, and functionality to share this personal health information with their VA health-care teams.
The Veteran Appointment Request Web App is another recently launched pilot. It provides more than 600 veterans at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center and Palo Alto, Calif., VA Health Care System with the opportunity to request primary care and mental health appointments from their mobile devices or desktop. The app also provides veterans the ability to select three different dates/times for appointments, choose their providers, and request in-person, telephone or video conference appointments.
More apps benefiting veterans and caregivers will be tested in future pilot programs. VA will conduct research studies of the pilots to determine the impact of the apps on veterans and their caregivers, as well as how the apps are used. This research will then inform next steps in VA’s roll out of apps to all veterans and caregivers nationwide. For more information about the VA Mobile Health initiative, click here.
If you are a veteran that has benefited from the use of one of VA’s mobile apps, please contact The American Legion’s Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.