Did you know the Department of Veteran Affairs offers a VA App Store?
We have previously covered the VA’s use of iOS devices for physicians to securely review patient’s electronic medical records. For their patients, the VA has also been very active in trying to develop and implement mobile health and telehealth tools to deliver better care. One area of particular focus has been depression and post-traumatic stress.
Available for both Android and iOS devices (primarily for iOS), these apps cover an array of fields, with a heavy focus on mental health. Exposure ED, Move! Coach App, PFA Mobile, Preconception Care App, Antbiogram App, Imaging Viewing Solution, and more may be found online.
Most of the apps available through the VA App Store have received little additional media attention. One exception is Concussion Coach, which has been covered by Scientific American in a prior mini-review. Released by the VA National Center for PTSD and DOD in 2014, this app reportedly helps educate patients with moderate concussions, and other users, on concussions and helps identify resources for symptom management. It is available for iOS, with an Android version planned (appears to be delayed at this time, release was planned for 2014).
Several of the apps offered through the VA App Store require a specialized login, including the Summary of Care and Veteran Appointment Request. This login, known as a Department of Defense Self-Services Login, available through the VA to select users, allows such apps to connect remotely to the VA Electronic Health Record.
In addition to offering such apps, the VA has provided resources for developers interested in partnering and creating additional apps. A virtual checklist is available through the VA’s website, including the five stages of their app development process, field testing information, compliance review, and more. Seeing the VA embrace mobile health is fantastic. Hopefully they will continue to encourage app development and support further releases of their products onto multiple platforms in the near future.
We’ll soon be publishing a list of VA apps that non-VA physicians can recommend to patients.