VA Blazes Trail For Mobile Medical Technology

Joseph Conn | Modern Healthcare | January 17, 2014

One assumption made about big bureaucracies is they're Luddites, always behind the times.

That's not exactly the case for the Veterans Health Administration, the healthcare arm of one of the largest federal bureaucracies, the Veterans Affairs Department.

Launching a host of mobile medical technology pilots these days tags the VA as an early adopter among U.S. healthcare organizations. Indeed, the VA has been a global leader in pioneering the use of patient-generated health data from electronic home-health monitors.

“This week, we're just piloting the use of mobile devices—smartphones, PCs, laptops, tablets through a Web-based interface,” said Dr. Adam Darkins, VHA chief consultant for telehealth services, in a telephone interview, giving an indication of the VA's tech efforts.

The VHA operates 151 hospitals, 827 outpatient clinics and provided medical care during nearly 6.5 million patient visits in fiscal 2013.