On June 7, The American Legion hosted a Twitter chat to share information on the Department of Veterans Affairs Connected Care program. The purpose was to provide veterans and their families with information on VA programs such as My HealtheVet, VA Telehealth video appointments using VA Video Connect, and more than two dozen mobile apps for veterans. Veterans Health Administration staff were available to answer questions about specific VA Connected Care programs.
A recap of the chat is below.
Question 1: When we hear the term VA Connected Care, what does that mean?
Answer 1: Connected Care expands patient care outside the walls of a medical center. At VA, connected care is about using technology to provide veterans with increased access to care and their health information. For more: bit.ly/ConnectedCare.
Q2: What does connected care mean for veterans?
A2: Think about the patient journey. We need many approaches to reach veterans including a telehealth strategy, a mobile strategy and a web strategy such as My HealtheVet. One solution won't fit all vets and that’s why connected care uses multiple approaches.
Q3: How does connected care address the quality of VA care?
A3: Connected care gives veterans increased access to a specialist across the nation. For example, TeleStroke connects veterans with VA’s top stroke experts no matter what VAMC the patient visits. Read more about how this works here.
Q4: How does connected health care help rural and disabled veterans access their health care?
A4: Many veterans, especially in rural areas and those who are disabled may struggle to get to their medical center. Telehealth, such as video appointments, and mobile health apps allow veterans to manage their health from home between appts.
Q5: Can veterans use the mobile apps if they’re not being treated at VA?
A5: Yes, there are several mental health, health education and health tracking apps, like MOVE! Coach, that anyone can use. Apps that connect to the VA health record are only available to VA patients. Learn more: bit.ly/VAMobileApps
Q6: Is the information shared in the apps safe & secure?
A6: (1/2) VA mobile apps do not automatically store personal health info on your devices. Apps that link to your electronic health record protect your data through encryption and secure user credentials.
A6: (2/2) To learn more about VA credentials, review VA Mobile’s secure logon information here: bit.ly/SecureLogon
Q7: What is My HealtheVet and how does it benefit veterans?
A7: My HealtheVet is VA’s online portal. Veterans can manage their health care, access health records, talk to providers via one logon and more. Learn more:
Q8: What are some My HealtheVet features that veterans should be aware of?
A8: (1/2) Through My HealtheVet, veterans can use Secure Messaging; review clinic visit notes; refill VA prescriptions; record diet, exercise and health info; schedule appointments, and more.
A8: (2/2) Online scheduling through My HealtheVet is available at more than 115 VA medical centers and associated clinics. Learn more: bit.ly/VAOnlineScheduling
Q9: You mentioned telehealth earlier, and we are starting to hear more about it as health care modernizes. What is telehealth?
A9: Telehealth is about changing how health care is delivered through video appointments, in-home technologies and more. It uses technology to connect veterans and care teams or specialists no matter where they are located. bit.ly/VATelehealth
Q10: How is VA making it easier for veterans to access telehealth?
A10: VA helped pass legislation to ensure VA providers can treat veterans no matter where they are located. VA wants to provide the option for veterans to shift care to the home and offer video appointments with VA providers. bit.ly/ATAPressRelease
Q11: How can veterans try video appointments with their doctors?
A11: Veterans can use VA Video Connect for video appointments. You will need an internet connection and a webcam or mobile device with a camera. Talk to your VA care team or facility about availability in your area. bit.ly/VAVideoConnect
Q12: How can veterans find out what VA Connected Care services are available to them?
A12: There are many ways! All veterans can use My HealtheVet. Mobile apps can be found at mobile.va.gov. Telehealth services vary by location; contact your facility for information.
Q13: What is the future of Connected Care?
A13: It’s about using technology to connect #veterans with their health care teams and information. Connected Care will complement office visits, help veterans live healthier lives and make it easier to access care – improving the overall experience.
Additional questions asked during the chat
Q: I already have a myHealtheVet account. I use it all the time. How do I sign up to get video doctor appointment instead of the traditional one?
A: VA Video Connect is being rolled out. Contact your VA care team if it’s available locally. Secure Messaging on MyHealtheVet is a way to connect directly.
Q: There is at least one app only available for iPhone. Everyone else is relegated to web. Why isn't Android treated equally?
A: Most mobile apps are HTML so most devices are supported. When apps are out in iOS, an Android version is usually released or in development. We have 10 Android apps in the VA App Store. Visit http://mobile.va.gov/appstore & use the Android filter.
Q: Telehealth sounds great, but what about lab work & other things like x-rays are you still required to go to a VA medical center or can these things be handle through local providers in your area?
A: Video telehealth visits are often used when labs/x-rays aren’t needed. If necessary, labs/x-rays can be done at the closest VA facility when convenient.
Visit https://connectedcare.va.gov/ for more on VA’s connected care offerings.