Trump, Shulkin announce appointment app, telehealth plans for VA

By Tom Sullivan

President Trump and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, on Wednesday introduced a new app, part of a plan to build out telehealth tools and services for veterans, and foretold rules that would make virtual care more accessible.

Trump said the VA, along with the American Office of Innovation, which his son-in-law Jared Kushner runs, are working to improve care transitions between the Defense Department and VA, enabling patients and families to compare quality and wait times, and ramping up their ability to choose which doctors to see.

“We’re launching the mobile app that will allow VA patients to schedule and change their appointments at VA facilities using their smartphones,” Trump said during a White House meeting in the Roosevelt Room. “This is something they were never able to do. Technology has given us this advantage.”

That app is called Veteran Appointment Request. Shulkin also said that VA Video Connect — which has been in development and trials with more than 300 VA clinicians at 76 hospitals since the Obama administration — will be rolled out nationwide.

So it follows that the VA is also gearing up to enable doctors to treat patients regardless of geographic location.

“Working with the Office of American Innovation and the Department of Justice, we're going to be issuing a regulation that allows our VA providers to provide telehealth services from anywhere in the country to veterans anywhere in the country, whether it's in their homes or any location.” Shulkin said. “We call it ‘anywhere to anywhere’ VA healthcare. That's a big deal.”

VA Video Connect and Veteran Appointment Request are the latest addition to the department’s own App Store. Others include: ACT Coach Concussion Coach, CBT-I Coach, Ask a Pharmacist and Caring4WomenVeterans, among others.