The VA administration is now testing out various applications and pilot programs that utilize tablets in different ways.
The VA has announced it has created an initiative aimed at studying the benefits associated with the use of mhealth apps and tablet devices to improve and coordinate care between physicians, veterans and their families/caregivers.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been embracing mHealth for awhile now with the goal of improving the outcomes of its veterans. In fact, we have previously reported that the VA is giving out iPhones and iPads to its hospitals for physicians to securely access patient records.
To that end, the VA is handing out 1,000 iPads to veteran’s families in the “Clinic-in-Hand” pilot program. These are not just stock iPads either, they will come pre-loaded with apps that are designed to facilitate communication with the veteran’s physician. There will also be apps included that aid in providing care.
Currently, only Apple’s iOS is being utilized, but there are plans in the future to expand to other operating systems such as Android. Josephine Schuda, spokeswoman for the VA, explains.
“iPads and their loaded apps are designed to increase the convenience of health care management and strengthen communication among veterans, family caregivers and clinicians.”
Indeed, security is a concern for the VA. HIPAA regulations require that patient data be as secure as possible. Because of this, the article mentions that, “technology will include secure, two-way exchange of health data among all three parties as well as health care management tools to facilitate administrative needs and patient education.”
Apps developed as part of “Clinic-in-Hand” pilot and some that are not will be made available for download on various smartphones and tablet devices from the VA’s app store that is set to launch early next year.
Washington, DC-based and disabled veteran owned business District Communications Group, secured the 12-month, $350,000 “Clinic-in-Hand” contract for the mobile health project last month. The company is also helping the VA develop the mobile version of its EHR app which will allow secure, HIPAA compliant access to patient information.