A new app from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allows veterans to access information on healthcare news, VA health care locations and other functions.
Chris Durney is the public affairs officer for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. He says veterans who are traveling could use the MyVA Info app to find assistance in an unfamiliar place.
"If you’re a veteran and you’re traveling in Houston and something comes up, you have a medical issue or you need something to be taken care of at a VA, you don’t know where the VA is. Well, this app helps you not only find that VA, but it takes you in directions right there," Durney said.
Other services the app provides include information on how to get benefits, start a claim, or how to get into the VA system. The new app is one of several the department offers to veterans, including apps that help with mindfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, or quitting smoking. Jana O’Cain is the coordinator for My HealtheVet, the VA's online healthcare management service. She says apps like these are one way veterans can get directly involved with their healthcare.
"The more awareness that they have, the better the outcomes. So being able to have that quick go-to app, to be able to find the tools that they need, to be able to communicate, it’s just a great overall experience for them," O’Cain said.
The app, available for both iPhone and Android, is free to the public; however in order to access it, veterans will need approved credentials to sign in. Durney says while some have told him that older veterans would not take to the app, he says the technology is fairly accessible to all.
"This sort of technology is not difficult, it’s not hard to get into, it’s actually fairly easy. Every one of us has one of these neat smartphones right with us. We have kids that can help us though certain things, but it’s really a lot more accessible than you think," Durney said.
As far as technological goals for the VA, Durney says accessibility is the biggest goal.
"It involves community care, it involves this connected care, it involves being able to find an outlet where you can go to easily. It’s that the VA can be everywhere for you," Durney said.