VA Blazing Its Own Trail When It Comes To Government mHealth

Greg Slabodkin | FierceMobileHealthcare | May 13, 2013

Say what you want about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and its bloated bureaucracy. One fact that cannot be disputed is that the VA continues to be a national leader in health IT.

Case in point: in 2010, the VA first launched the Blue Button initiative, providing easy, secure online access to personal health records. Today, Blue Button is available to veterans, uniformed service members, and Medicare beneficiaries, with more than a million people who have downloaded their own health information. In addition, other federal agencies and private sector partners like Aetna, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealth Group are all getting on the Blue Button bandwagon.

The VA is also the nation's leader in telehealth technologies, providing greater access to healthcare through the use of telecommunications and videoconferencing. In one instance, a VA national home telehealth program demonstrated a 25 percent reduction in the number of days of bed care and a 19 percent reduction in admissions.