VA Mobile Health Field Tests

 

Washington, D.C. area Family Caregivers met with Dr. Petzel and other VHA leaders for the ceremonial launch of the VA Mobile Health Family Caregiver Pilot. (L to R) Front Row:  Lt. Col. Timothy Bostick, USA (Ret.) and  Caregivers Dellareece Bostickand Marcella Stretch; Middle Row: Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health; Dr. Neil Evans, Co-Director, VHA Connected Health; Dr. Madhulika Agarwal, Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services; Back Row: Dr. Robert Jesse, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health; Kathleen Frisbee, Co-Director, VHA Connected Health; Laura Taylor, Director, Caregiver Support Program; Meg Kabat, Deputy Director, Caregiver Support Program; Gail Graham, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Informatics and Analytics.

Since 2011, VA has been using field tests as part of its development strategy for VA Mobile Health applications (apps). VA has incorporated user feedback and design enhancements resulting from field tests to move apps from testing to national release. VA Mobile Health field tests include:

 

Current Field Tests:

VA Mobile Health Provider Program

In early 2014, VA began a phased program to provide VA care teams with mobile technologies that enhance the way they deliver health care to Veterans. In the first phase, the Provider Program equipped VA care teams at VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the country with tablets that included a wide-range of clinical and communications tools to assist their patients’ health care needs. As part of the second phase, VA is testing a suite of VA-developed apps that will help VA care teams communicate with their patients, access VA data outside of the hospital walls and manage their workflow. Through the program, VA is evaluating how mobile access to patient information affects accessibility, productivity, workflow and communications across VA care teams. This program expands upon a clinician pilot conducted in 2011.

Completed Field Tests:

VA Mobile Health Family Caregiver Pilot

Almost 900 seriously injured post-9/11 Veterans and their Caregivers participated in the Family Caregiver Pilot program, which ran from summer 2013 through fall 2014. Participants received VA-loaned iPads containing a suite of apps that allowed Veterans and Caregivers to securely access VA health data, track personal health-related information, and share information with VA care teams.

Veteran Appointment Request App Pilot (VAR)

Veterans at the Washington, D.C. and Palo Alto VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) participated in the Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) App Pilot. The pilot focused on providing Veterans with an online/mobile option to facilitate scheduling of primary care and mental health appointments with their VA health care teams. VA is currently making changes to the app based on feedback from the pilot, in preparation for a wider launch.

VA Mobile Health MyStory App Pilot

This pilot took place in 2013 and included Veterans and other patients from several VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the country. The MyStory App allowed patients to identify what is most important to them in terms of life and wellness goals and, with the help of support teams, implement a plan to achieve those goals. The app also allowed patients to share the information with their support teams (e.g., VA health care team, family and friends, life coach, support group, personal trainer). VA is making changes to the app based on feedback from pilot participants and members of their VA care teams in preparation for a second pilot phase.

VA Mobile Health Browser Pilot

In June 2012, VA launched its Mobile Health Browser Pilot to develop apps that run on mobile browsers and increase efficiency, convenience and accessibility of VA health care across multiple mobile platforms. Pilots in several locations empowered VA care teams, Caregivers and Veterans by providing them with tools to better manage their health care information. In addition to increasing communication between VA care teams and patients, the Mobile Health Browser Pilot allowed Veterans to export their data and make online requests for primary care and mental health appointments.

VA Mobile Health Clinician Pilot

This pilot, conducted during the fall of 2011, focused on delivering mobile solutions to VA care teams. It successfully provided mobile access to patient information; improved accessibility, productivity and workflow for pilot participants; and analyzed security-related issues associated with mobile devices on VA’s network at the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center. Thirty VA clinicians tested iPhone and iPad apps that made critical information from a patient’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) available in real time and on the go.