VA giving iPads to caregivers

The Dept. of Veterans' Affairs is testing whether giving iPads to caregivers can improve the care delivered to veterans, according to NextGov.com.

Under the pilot program, Clinic-in-Hand, the VA plans to provide more than 1,000 iPads to family caregivers of patients, to allow them access to VA apps, a recently rolled out mobile EHR (now in testing at Washington Medical Center) and other mobile resources. The idea is to facilitate health communication between not only VA physicians and patients but also with other caregivers, who are a crucial part of the health process.

Those caregivers can't be just anyone, however. According to NextGov.com, a caregiver must be approved as a "primary provider of personal care services" under the Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers program.

No details on how long the pilot itself will run, but the VA plans to have the apps created for the Clinic-in-Hand program available by 2013, according to NextGov.

The program is an interesting expansion of the VA's mobile strategy. Thus far, VA officials have been strictly clinical in focus, handing iPads out by the hundreds, but only to clinicians. This definitely marks the first time the VA has reached out to bring family caregivers into the fold.

To learn more:
- read the NextGov.com story.
- check out GovernmentHealthIT's story on the VA's mobile EHR.

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