Jim Doray recently had an appointment with his VA doctor in Southern California even though the 24-year Navy Veteran was sitting on a sofa in an RV headed east on Interstate 40. He and his wife were visiting relatives in New Mexico when he noticed something was wrong with his blood pressure.
The appointment was virtual, of course, using VA Video Connect and a tablet with an internet connection. Even at home, Doray lives far from his VA and regularly uses VA Telehealth Services, so he knew he could request a video visit rather than head to the nearest emergency room.
Doray’s experience is becoming more common as VA expands efforts to provide virtual care, especially to Veterans in rural areas. In 2018, VA surpassed 1 million video health visits for the first time.
Additionally, VA announced partnerships in December with Walmart, Philips Healthcare, the VFW and the American Legion to enable Veterans who lack the necessary technology in their homes to receive remote health care at a convenient location. A separate agreement with T-Mobile also will help expand access by allowing customers to use VA Video Connect without their data plans being charged.
VA and Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB) recently co-hosted an ExploreVA Facebook Live event to share information about Connected Care tools and technologies with Veterans.
Dr. Neil Evans, Chief Officer for VHA’s Office of Connected Care, and Dustin Sanderson, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Program Manager at Team RWB, discussed video visits, online scheduling, My HealtheVet, mobile apps and more.
Get a recap and watch the event on VAntage Point.
VA kicked off a year-long celebration on Veterans Day to mark the 15th anniversary of My HealtheVet, and the occasion has garnered tech industry attention. Federal Computer Week posted an article today on FCW.com that spotlights the past, present and future of VA’s online patient portal.
Calling it “VA’s front door to patient care,” the magazine notes that My HealtheVet was a pioneering effort in 2003 when it first launched, and it continues to lead the way with planned updates, like increased personalization. Currently, Veterans who are VA patients can use My HealtheVet to schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, send secure emails to their VA providers, download and share health records and medical images, and a lot more.
Theresa Hancock, director of My HealtheVet for more than 10 years, was interviewed for the story. “Our biggest accomplishment,” she said, “is serving as the voice of the Veterans, giving them a stake in their care … by removing the hospital walls and being able to deliver care where and when they want it.”
Thomas Bulla, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, says he did a lot of soul searching earlier this year and realized he’d reached a turning point. He was in his 60s, on several medications, in pain and tipping the scale at 313 pounds. Bulla decided to seek help at the Salisbury VA Medical Center where he receives care. He met with a VA dietitian who, after learning he lived more than hour away, quickly referred him to the facility’s TeleMOVE! Weight Management program.
“I knew I had to do something to save myself. I wanted my life back,” Bulla says about his decision to participate in the program. He was assigned a TeleMOVE! Care Coordinator who helped him set goals and get started using the home health monitoring equipment.
TeleMOVE! is one of VA’s Home Telehealth Services in which Veterans are matched with a VA Care Coordinator and at-home health monitoring technologies that best fit their needs. It is a 90-day program that focuses on nutrition, physical activity and behavior change. In 2018 alone, more than 136,000 Veterans were enrolled in VA Home Telehealth. Currently, there are approximately 75,000 participating daily and about 9,000 of those are enrolled in the TeleMOVE! Program.
Read the full story on VAntage Point and learn how TeleMOVE! helped this Veteran lose nearly 70 pounds in six months.
Several Office of Connected Care team members were named 2019 FedHealthIT100 award winners this week. Each winter, FedHealthIT recognizes 100 individuals for their role in driving change and advancement in the federal health information technology market. On the list from Connected Care are:
- Neil Evans, MD, Chief Officer
- Kathleen Frisbee, PhD, Executive Director, Connected Health
- Kevin Galpin, MD, Executive Director, Telehealth Services
- Theresa Hancock, Director, My HealtheVet
A common theme among the 100 selected was the desire and willingness to go above and beyond to drive innovation. The winners were honored on Dec. 5 during a FedHealthIT100 event in Washington, D.C.
Congratulations to all 2019 FedHealthIT100 winners!
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