The new Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin, has wasted no time since his appointment in introducing several technology and mobile-based services at the VA, all of which are long overdue in this Editor’s estimation:
- Anywhere to Anywhere VA Health Care will authorize telehealth consults and cross-state care for veterans no matter their location and regardless of local telehealth restrictions. VA is already the largest provider of telemedicine services (called VA Telehealth) in 50 specialties to 700,000 veterans annually. This new regulation will enable VA to hire primary care and specialist doctors in metro areas to cover veterans in rural or underserved areas.
- Rolling out nationally over the next year is the VA Video Connect app where veterans can use their smartphones or home computers with video connections to consult with VA providers. At present 300 VA providers at 67 hospitals are using it.
- The Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) app will also roll out from its test. It will enable veterans to use their smartphone, tablet or computer to schedule or modify appointments at VA facilities nationwide.
Dr. Shulkin advocated these programs while undersecretary, especially ‘Anywhere to Anywhere’, which required advice from the Justice Department. VA’s technology is also being supported by the American Office of Innovation to improve care transitions between the Defense Department and VA.
President Trump participated in the announcement with Dr. Shulkin and sat in on between Albert Amescua, a 26-year Coast Guard veteran at a VA clinic in Grants Pass, Ore., and Brook Woods, a VA internist in Cleveland. VA announcement with videos, POLITICO Morning eHealth, HealthcareITNews