What's New

Posted on Jun 07, 2017
Connected Care Programs Win FedHealthIT Innovation Awards

VA Connected Care initiatives are among 25 federal health programs selected to receive a FedHealthIT Innovation Award, including the Annie, VA Video Connect and Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) apps. Entries were nominated and selected by peers for driving innovation and results across Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health and Human Services, Military Health and Veterans Affairs. 

The  award-winning Connected Care programs focus on improving Veteran access to care, creating more opportunities for Veterans to communicate with their VA care teams and enhancing the overall quality and convenience of care for Veterans.

All award winners are included in the 2017 Summer Edition of FedHealthIT magazine and were honored at the 3rd annual Innovation Awards celebration on June 6 in Washington, DC. Neil Evans, MD, Chief Officer of the Office of Connected Care, was one of the featured speakers at the award ceremony.

Read more about the award recognition in this Office of Public and International Affairs news release, and find all winning entries on pages 16-17 of the magazine.

Posted on Jun 02, 2017
Researchers study Digital Patient Engagement Based on Use of My HealtheVet

Two VA researchers recently developed and prioritized measures of digital patient engagement based on patients’ use of My HealtheVet. They found that establishing a validated scale of patient engagement through use of information technology is the first step to understanding its role in health and health care quality, outcomes, and efficient implementation by health care providers and systems. 

The study, Prioritizing Measures of Digital Patient Engagement: A Delphi Expert Panel Study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research was conducted by Dr. Lynn Garvin, Department of Health Law, Policy and Management, School of Public Health, Boston University and Research Investigator, Bedford VA Medical Center; and Dr. Steven Simon, Geriatrics and Extended Care Service, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. 

Drs. Garvin and Simon aligned two models from the information systems and organizational behavior literatures to create a theory-based model of digital patient engagement. This national expert panel study prioritized candidate measures to assess digital patient engagement through patients’ use of VA’s My HealtheVet portal. The process yielded robust measures sets for Secure Messaging and Blue Button, prepared for future piloting and validation in surveys among Veterans.

Read the full article here: http://www.jmir.org/2017/5/e182/.  Special acknowledgements to VA Researchers: Kim M. Nazi, Mark Meterko, Thomas Marcello, and key informants.

Posted on May 25, 2017
Neil Evans, MD speaks at the 14th Annual World Health Care Congress

world health care congress 2017 logoNeil Evans, MD, Chief Officer, Office of Connected Care, participated in a behavioral health management panel at the 14th Annual World Health Care Congress last month in Washington, D.C.

The panel discussed ways to overcome barriers in medical-behavioral integration and models for how to improve outcomes for behavioral health patients. Dr. Evans highlighted virtual care and connected care technologies at VA, with emphasis on how telehealth can bridge the gap across distance to connect Veterans with specialists. Particularly relevant for behavioral health, Dr. Evans shared information about 10 TeleMental Health Hubs. The Health Hubs have been established over the last year in locations across the country, helping to provide access and care for Veterans in new ways, where they are located.

Following the panel discussion, Dr. Evans spoke with World Congress at VA Connected Care. Watch Dr. Evans’ World Health Care Congress interview.

Posted on May 12, 2017
FitHeart App will target Veterans in cardiac rehab

FitHeart app icon

One way Veteran cardiac patients improve their heart health is through increased participation in physical fitness rehabilitation activities. Veterans with cardiac conditions will soon have a new tool to assist them with their medically supervised exercise and lifestyle program.

Under the advisement of their VA care teams, Veterans will use the FitHeart App to establish weekly fitness goals in minutes, steps and/or miles. They will be able to record daily fitness activities – like walking, dancing, cycling and swimming – and can track progress over time.

Researchers presented FitHeart at an American Heart Association scientific meeting last month. The app is entering field testing this summer and is slated to be available later this year.

Learn more.

Posted on May 08, 2017
News about VAR is spreading fast

Now that the Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) App is live at 100 VA medical centers, many Veterans can self-schedule their next primary care appointment and request primary or mental health appointments.

In the past few weeks, news about VAR has been shared in these places:

  • The American Legion published the VA Launches Scheduling App article
  • The Midland Daily News covered VAR availability at the Aleda E. Lutz Medical Center and all community-based outpatient clinics throughout Michigan -- visit VAR App Can Help Make Appointments.
  • A new VA Mobile video about the VAR App was posted to the Veterans Health Administration YouTube channel. Check it out:

Visit the VA App Store to view a list of facilities using VAR and learn more.


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Learn more about Connected Care

There are many new and exciting things taking place in the Office of Connected Care! View the videos below to learn more about specific Connected Care offices and programs.

Learn more about Clinical Video Telehealth, livestreaming audio-video between VA care teams and patients that allows Veterans to see their doctors remotely; VA PUR, a new mobile app that helps Veterans and their Caregivers with pressure ulcer treatment; and how My HealtheVet helps Veterans manage their own care to become more independent.

Learn more about the MOVE! Coach App, which helps Veterans meet their fitness and weight loss goals; the Distance Hearing Aid Fitting Program, which allows VA care teams to program or adjust a patient’s hearing aid remotely; and how My HealtheVet, VA’s personal health record portal, helps Veterans access their health records safely and securely.