VA Launches New mHealth App to Consolidate Vets’ Access to Resources

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new mHealth app in an effort to give veterans and their caregivers one portal into the VA’s connected health resources.

The VA Launchpad for Veterans app “simplifies and organizes several existing tools and resources into one convenient location to help manage health care needs,” the agency said in a press release. Available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, it’s intended for veterans with Premium My HealtheVet, DS Logon Level 2 (Premium) or accounts.

The telehealth platform accessed by the app via a single, secure log-in divides available resources into five categories: health management, health care team communication, vital health information sharing, mental health improvement and quality of life improvement. In addition, a separate section accessible without any log-in offers mental health care and personal improvement tools for those who aren’t enrolled in VA healthcare services.

“VA has developed dozens of apps for Veterans to take charge of their health care,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the press release. “VA Launchpad makes it easier to have these important tools available at your fingertips.”

Among the apps soon to be made available is Summary of Care, which will give veterans access to their medical record. Separately, Apple is working with the VA to enable veterans to access their health data through Apple’s Health Records app on the iPhone.

The Launchpad app continues an effort launched by Wilkie’s predecessor, David Shulkin, in 2017 to give the agency a bigger online presence, improve access to healthcare for the nation’s veterans and relieve some of the pressure on the 170 hospitals and 1,063 outpatient care sites in the VA system.

Earlier this year, Wilkie submitted a budget request of more than $1 billion to expand that telehealth network, which saw more than 2.3 million encounters and 1 million video visits in 2017 but still accounts for just a small percentage of all veteran healthcare encounters.

Originally published in mHealth Intelligence by Eric Wicklund on August 23, 2019