Mobile Health: Taking Healthcare on the road


By Debbie Gregory.

Smart mobile devices represent an important part of our daily lives. Now they afford an opportunity to engage patients in the management of their health as well as behaviors that effect health.

Smart phone technology offers patient-centered care that provides remote access to electronic medical records, virtual monitoring and visits, asynchronous communication, social networking, video conferencing and remote documentation. This technology will dramatically change healthcare delivery in the US. Results of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs mobile programs are beginning to show great positive results.

Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for 22 million veterans. Over 9 million veterans currently obtain healthcare from the VA. The VA leads U.S. federal mobile healthcare initiatives for both patients and providers.

The VA Mobile Health and wireless outreach are part of a larger effort to change the way care is delivered, by designing its systems around the needs of patients and prepared healthcare teams to improve care coordination.

In order for the VA to have adopted a mobile platform, it was necessary to build the mobile infrastructure. The VA contracted with Agilex to complete an analysis of VA systems, and make recommendations for implementing and supporting smartphone and tablet devices. This analysis considered the risks and issues associated with the implementation and management of various mobile devices within the VA’s infrastructure.

The ultimate goal is to create a seamless experience for patients and providers across multiple interfaces, delivering the right health information to the right person, in the right place, at the right time, and in the right (meaningful) manner.

The VA is developing a “VA App Store” to hold all of the mobile applications developed by the VA. Given that there are already many good applications available on the market, there will be a certification process for existing or planned non-VA applications to be included in the VA App Store.

The VA intends to leverage mobile technology to increase the frequency and quality of the interactions it has with its Veteran patients.