More and more veterans are receiving healthcare treatment virtually, thanks to efforts by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to expand telehealth.
One of the recent successes has been with VA Video Connect, which allows veterans to connect with their healthcare teams over live video from a computer, tablet or smartphone from the comfort of their homes, thereby increasing their access to VA healthcare and reducing travel times.
Since its launch in August 2017, more than 20,000 veterans have used VA Video Connect to receive care, and more than 4,000 VA providers across the country are set up to use the system.
VA Video Connect also has proven to be an important tool for VAs after emergencies. The Office of Connected Care’s mobile and telehealth programs, in coordination with the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas and VA’s regional network, quickly organized telehealth capabilities to assist veterans at two “mega-shelters” and four community-based outpatient clinics after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
As part of that effort, remote clinicians used VA Video Connect and other video technologies to hold virtual healthcare appointments with veterans. VA teams have been coordinating since last year’s hurricane season to prepare for how VA Video Connect can be used to mobilize clinical resources in the face of future emergencies and disasters.
VA Video Connect can be used on almost any computer, tablet or mobile phone with an internet connection, a web camera and microphone. VA Video Connect uses encryption to ensure privacy in each session.
In March 2018, VA released an iOS version of VA Video Connect to the Apple App Store. Soon after, VA Video Connect began trending as a top 10 app in the “medical” category.