The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it had inked a deal with American Well to deploy the telehealth vendor’s online care system for veterans, particularly those in rural areas of the US.
American Well’s service will enable veterans and their care providers to have online consultations via video, text, and phone messaging. The VA is creating three online practices to make up the new initiative, they include:
- The Minneapolis VA Health Care System (MHCS)’s Behavioral Health Practice will create an online practice that remotely provides mental health services.
- The Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System (NWIHCS)’s Oncology Practice will create an online practice that brings together healthcare providers from the Omaha VA Medical Center (VAMC) with cancer patients across the state, including many who live in rural areas.
- The NWIHCS will also establish an online perioperative practice that brings post-operative care to patients with support from a home-based primary and extended care team.
American Well quietly launched an iPhone app for its Online Care offering at the end of August. The app, called Online Care Mobile is free and designed to be used by both iPhone and iPad users. The app is intended for use by healthcare providers who use the American Well Online Care platform with patients. The app enables users to read and send secure messages, see the day’s appointments, see who’s in the waiting room, and receive notifications and reminders. The VA announcement makes no mention of the app, but it is likely the VA would take advantage of it.
In October, the VA announced plans to acquire as many as 100,000 tablets, primarily for use by their medical clinicians staff, marking one of the largest such deployments by a civilian agency. A few weeks ago — before the iPad deployment began to roll out — one of the unopened iPads was stolen from the VA, according to a GovHealthIT report.
“VA is dedicated to providing Veterans with the highest quality, most patient-centric care possible – and we see technology as a critical enabler in our mission,” stated Jonah Czerwinski, director of VAi2, in a press release. “This initiative with American Well will allow VA to use telehealth to deliver needed care directly into the homes of veterans, who might otherwise struggle with barriers such as distance, mobility or the need to take time away from work or family.”
As we reported earlier this year, patient-to-physician video consultations are President Obama’s favorite use case for mobile health.
Read the press release below. Keep reading>>