The White House on Aug. 3 unveiled new telehealth features for veterans, including a smartphone application that veterans can use to make doctor’s appointments.
The telehealth effort will offer services to help veterans seeking care whether they are at home or overseas.
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Davis Shulkin said that about 700,000 veterans used telehealth services last year. The VA wants to get more veterans to take advantage of telehealth services.
The Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) Application will allow veterans to use their phones to book appointments and will not let veterans cut the line, Shulkin said. Veterans will be subject to the normal wait times across the country, which vary according to location. The VA is looking to use the data generated from the app to figure out how to shorten those wait times.
The app allows veterans to request assistance in booking both primary care and mental health appointments at the VA facilities where they receive care. In addition to scheduling appointments, veterans can use VAR to track appointment details and the status of requests, send messages about requested appointments, receive notifications, and cancel appointments.
The app features include dates and times for primary care and mental health appointments; details for all pending, confirmed and upcoming appointments; sending up to two messages to a VA scheduler about requested and booked appointments; email notifications about appointment updates; and the ability to cancel an appointment.