VA to roll out mHealth provider program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is implementing a Mobile Health Provider Program designed to leverage the power of mHealth to "transform the way clinicians and patients interact," according to an announcement on the VA website. 

The VA program will be rolled out in two phases: Mobile devices will be deployed to 18 VA Medical Centers for clinical use, and VA-developed apps will be made available on the mobile devices via the VA App Store.

Initially, the mobile devices will include VA email, a VA App Store with commercial mobile health apps that have passed VA security reviews and VPN capabilities to access information in the medical center as well as off-site. During the second phase of the program, the newly VA-developed apps will be available for download in the VA App Store.

The VA-developed apps were created "specifically with VA clinicians in mind" and some of the benefits include quick access to real-time information to inform clinical decisions and a series of health inventory apps for self-management, according to the website. The apps will eventually allow clinicians to write progress notes, enter a subset of orders and complete other clinical tasks.

"If the program proves to be successful, the intention is to expand the effort to other VA sites over the next 18 to 24 months based on available funding and approval by VHA's Office for Health for Operations and Management," the announcement reads.

Last year, a VA mHealth pilot ran into problems with its ability to efficiently schedule appointments. The VA Mobile Health Veteran Appointment Request Pilot was an attempt to provide more than 600 Veterans with the ability to request primary care and mental healthcare appointments. However, the Appointment Request App does not work with scheduling software across VA medical centers and does not operate within the VA's varying business processes.

At the time, there were 18 VA apps available to Veterans that were being piloted, or would be in pilot within the next six months. In May, FierceMobileHealthcare interviewed VA officials about the VA's mHealth initiatives.

To learn more:
- visit the VA website

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