VA, TRICARE debut mHealth programs

Continuing its major push into mHealth this year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and TRICARE have announced two new mobile health programs.

New on the board: The VA just handed American Telecare a multi-year telemedicine contract for patients with end-stage kidney disease.

The VA's clinical teams will have video connectivity to their highest-risk renal patients to monitor their kidney disease symptoms, along with other co-morbidities including diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, ATI officials say.

No word yet on what percentage of the VA's total population of end-stage renal patients will have access to the program. ATI will kick-start its initiative with the VA's Minneapolis-based Midwest Health Care Network's, which has 8,000 VA kidney disease patients who may be at risk for end-stage complications, ATI officials report. Nor have the VA or ATI revealed the dollar-value of the contract.

ATI took the contract as a top prize in the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) awards.

TRICARE, meanwhile, just debuted its own mobile pharmacy app and mobile-optimized website, TRICARE Express Rx, created with online pharmacy Express Scripts Inc. Patients will be able to use smartphones to check on prescriptions, find the closest pharmacy for refills, and share information on current prescriptions with providers or family members, TRICARE officials say.

To learn more:
- see GovernmentHealthIT's coverage
- read TRICARE's press release
- check out ATI's statement