For many veterans, communicating with a doctor in real time will now be as convenient as putting a new app on their smartphone, tablet or personal computer.
VA Video Connect, which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began piloting in 2017, is now being rolled out to veterans across the country. The service enables veterans to interact with their physicians using a secure video connection to address nearly any issue that does not require an in-person visit.
The app can be used by any veteran who has video-capable technology — such as a smartphone, tablet or computer — a reliable internet connection, and access to a VA provider who uses the service. The VA began rolling out Video Connect in July 2017; as of April 20, 4,500 VA providers had used it to communicate with more than 22,500 veterans. The VA hopes that increased use of Video Connect will help relieve some of the agency’s wait time and access issues.
The new service has already demonstrated its capabilities. When VA Video Connect was being piloted last year, its introduction coincided with the devastation left behind by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Video Connect enabled VA physicians to remotely get veterans the care they needed, underscoring its potential to reach patients unable to physically travel because of their disability or distance from their doctor.