How Telehealth Is Changing Healthcare for Veterans
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been committed to innovating in the field of telehealth, ensuring veterans continue to have access to healthcare services where and when they need them (VA, July 2020). Leveraging technology, such as increased bandwidth, broader use of laptops and tablets, and even a mobile application. VA Telehealth Services is transforming how veterans access high-quality VA care. The Department pivoted quickly and efficiently to ensure services were uninterrupted, and the results were impressive.
“VA conducted about 2,500 telehealth video sessions daily at the beginning of March. Today, VA is conducting nearly 25,000 sessions — a 1000% increase… The Department delivered more than 2 million episodes of telehealth care in fiscal 2019. This year to date, VA has delivered more than 9 million telehealth episodes to date, including 1.1 million virtual mental health appointments” (Federal News Network, June 2020).
One of the tools that has facilitated telehealth for veterans is VA Video Connect, which allows Veterans and their caregivers to quickly and easily meet with VA health care providers through live video on any computer, tablet, or mobile device. According to the FAQs on the VA Video Connect website, “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Video Connect mobile application (app) enables you to connect to a virtual medical room. In the virtual medical room, you participate in video health care visits where a hands-on physical examination is not required. You access your provider on a scheduled date and time – just like a face-to-face meeting in a clinic exam room” (VA Video Connect, July 2020).
Veteran employment service providers can direct the veterans they serve to this easily accessible platform, which offers a wide range of health care services, including mental health. In the long term, VA said it will ‘sustain and grow’ its telehealth capabilities (Federal News Network, June 2020). While telehealth was a necessary measure put in place to manage the need for services during the pandemic, it could be here to stay.
To learn more about VA Telehealth, visit https://telehealth.va.gov/
To learn more about VA Video Connect, visit https://mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect