VA Offers Virtual Appointments on Smart Devices - Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
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Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System

 

VA Offers Virtual Appointments on Smart Devices

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To schedule a virtual appointment, Veterans should speak with their doctor, therapist or other provider about whether VA Video Connect is a good option.

By Nate Schaeffer, Public Affairs Specialist
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Can’t Travel to the VA Clinic? No problem!

The next time you need to see your VA doctor, instead of going to the clinic, why not just stay home and use your smartphone or computer instead?

Since January 2019, the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVAHCS) has offered VA Video Connect virtual appointments which connect Veterans with their doctor using a secure video connection on a smartphone, computer, or tablet.

When the VA care team schedules an appointment using VA Video Connect, Veterans will receive an email with a link to join a virtual medical room and will use the camera on their device.

“For working Veterans, it’s a real plus,” said Lynette Gunn, APRN, GCNS-BC, EOVAHCS Telehealth Coordinator. “Depending on the reason for the visit, Veterans could schedule an appointment during their lunch break. They don’t have to take off time from work, and of course, they don’t have to drive to the clinic. It’s a time saver.”

To schedule a virtual appointment, the Veteran will first speak with their doctor, therapist or other provider about whether VA Video Connect is a good option.

“It’s agreed upon between the patient and the provider,” said Gunn. “Sometimes a patient may want a VA Video Connect and it’s not appropriate. Where it’s appropriate and the provider says ok, we’ll schedule the appointment.”

Gunn said a great aspect of VA Video Connect is allowing family members in different states the opportunity to attend the virtual appointment.

“We can include up to four other people in the virtual medical room,” said Gunn. “They can participate in the Veteran’s care and not have to travel.”

While some Veterans may be skeptical about attending a virtual VA appointment on their smartphone, they won’t be for long.

“After an appointment or two, they absolutely love it,” she said. “Even our Veterans who were a little bit hesistant, they end up loving it.”

EOVAHCS services currently using VA Video Connect include: Chaplain Service, Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) program, Mental Health, Occupational Therapy, Pain Clinic, Palliative Care, Patient Advocates, Pharmacy, Primary Care, Social Work and Wound Care.

VA has also partnered with the Claremore and Talihina Veterans Centers, operated by the state of Oklahoma, to provide virtual appointments for Veterans.

“The Veteran Centers have a laptop on a cart and the staff take it from room to room,” said Gunn. “We email the Vet Center staff a link to start the virtual appointment. When appropriate, it prevents the Veteran from having to travel to the clinic.”

Technical Help

On personal computers and Android or Windows mobile devices, VA Video Connect operates as a web-based app and does not require an app download. For iOS (Apple) users, the app should be downloaded from the Apple App Store prior to the visit. Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile do not count VA Video Connect data usage against their customers.

To test whether your device is compatible with VA Video Connect, visit the VA Video Connect test site. If you need technical assistance with VA Video Connect, please contact the National Telehealth Technology Help Desk at 1-866-651-3180 or 703-234-4483, Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time.

VA Video Connect should not be used for an emergency situation. If you need immediate assistance, call your local medical center or dial 911.

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