June 11 marked a major milestone for clinicians delivering telehealth services at the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was the go-live date for a policy shift dubbed "anywhere-to-anywhere," which allows qualified practitioners to log in to VA's telehealth system and see patients without regard to state rules and regulations.
VA has been leading the medical profession in telehealth services for more than a decade, but lately the agency has been looking to regulatory updates rather than technological breakthroughs to advance the delivery of services to its 20 million-strong patient population.
Four VA initiatives that touch VHA Connected Care were among 26 federal programs that received a 2018 FedHealthIT Innovation Award last week: Genetic Diagnostic Testing (GDx) System, Mobile Scheduling Enhancements, My HealtheVet Core Development and Remote Veterans Apnea Management Platform (REVAMP).
Entries were nominated and selected by peers for driving innovation and results across VA, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Military Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services. In all, VA received nine awards.
The award-winning Connected Care programs focus on enhancing Veterans’ care:
- The Genetic Diagnostic Testing (GDx) System is a mobile application that allows Veterans and VA providers unprecedented access to laboratory test results, allowing viewing and sharing results with health-care providers inside and outside VA. Medical professionals will be able to provide highly individualized care and better treat their patients.
- Mobile Scheduling Enhancements uses apps that VA clinics, staff and Veterans can use to self-schedule primary care, audiology, optometry and mental health appointments within VA’s health-care system. Since the November 2017 release of the online scheduling app, transactions conducted by Veterans have increased more than 3,000 percent.
- My HealtheVet Core Development allows the community of 4.3 million My HealtheVet users to better utilize the online scheduling app. This optimized the use of VA IT investment funds, allowed access across desktops, tablets and mobile devices, and dramatically increased Veteran use of the application.
- The Remote Veterans Apnea Management Platform (REVAMP) app improves Veteran access to care, reduces patient wait times and allows Veterans with sleep apnea to be diagnosed and treated without having to travel to a sleep center. This VA-developed web platform facilitates remote care and provides a convenient alternative to current in-person management.
All award winners were honored at the 4th Annual Innovation Awards celebration on June 12 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Neil Evans, MD, Chief Officer, Office of Connected Care, and Kathy Frisbee, PhD were two of the 12 executives who participated in keynote panel discussions about federal health technology and innovation prior to the awards ceremony.
On Tuesday, June 26, VHA’s Office of Connected Care will join American Veterans (AMVETS) for a Facebook Live event on My HealtheVet. Tune in at 12 p.m. ET as My HealtheVet Director Theresa Hancock, and Director of Dental Operations and Secure Messaging Champion Dr. Gregory Smith, sit down with AMVETS National Executive Director Joseph Chenelly. They will discuss how Veterans can use My HealtheVet to access their VA health records and the benefit of having their records online. They will also talk about other My HealtheVet features such as Secure Messaging, online appointment scheduling, VA prescription refill and more.
Here’s how to participate:
- Click the event post to get a reminder about the event.
- Visit AMVETS' Facebook page on June 26 at 12 p.m. ET.
- Click on the video, make sure that it is unmuted and turn up the sound.
- If you would like to participate in the discussion, type your questions into the comments section under the video, and experts will respond during or following the event.
Yesterday, the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Connected Care partnered with The American Legion, to host the office’s first Twitter Chat, which covered VA virtual care technologies available to Veterans.
The event consisted of a discussion between The American Legion and Connected Care in addition to questions from the audience. The conversation addressed various technologies – telehealth, My HealtheVet, mobile apps and more – that can improve the lives of Veterans, Caregivers and their families.
With the #ConnectedCareChat hashtag, audience members followed the conversation and submitted questions that were answered by a panel of Connected Care subject matter experts, including VHA Connected Care Chief Officer Dr. Neil Evans.
The audience remained engaged throughout the event – with more than 130 participants actively sharing, liking and retweeting content. They were particularly interested in learning more about telehealth, video appointments and My HealtheVet.
A Twitter Moment was created after the event to capture the conversation. Read it here and share the moment with your social network.
The Grand Junction VA Medical Center in Colorado just became the 17th facility to join VA's Tele-Intensive Care Unit (TeleICU) system. The program brings remote intensivist health professionals into a facility’s ICU rooms over video screens to assist local staff in treating and diagnosing patients.
Doctors and nurses at VA’s TeleICU Center in Minneapolis, as well as in Chicago and Iowa City, are on call at all times of the day to provide assistance to the VA facilities in the program. Each of Grand Junction’s five ICU rooms are now equipped with a TV screen, camera and other Tele-ICU equipment.
“This really allows us to increase the complexity of patients that we see here while bringing in a second set of eyes on our staff,” said Grand Junction VA Director Michael Kilmer in a recent Daily Sentinel article. “Being a small rural facility, it's a good opportunity for us to bring in support that we couldn't otherwise afford."
Read the full article to learn more.
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