FedTech: VA Expands Telehealth Services with New Device Purchases

“Like other federal agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been expanding its use of telework in the past month as workers have been forced to work remotely.”

“The VA is also fulfilling its mission to serve veterans by expanding its use of telemedicine. The agency is doing so by investing in laptops, iPad devices and other equipment.”

“The hardware investment came after the VA made a $1.2 billion request for the department’s ‘Information Technology Systems account’ to support the ‘quick shift’ to telehealth and social distance working, according to an Office of Management and Budget memo sent out in March. The VA said the shift to telework would require investment in IT resources ‘to support increased use of simultaneous telehealth appointments and upgrade associated bandwidth for employees and healthcare providers.’”

“According to VA spokesperson Christina Noel, the agency is ‘maximizing telework when possible, while ensuring it has adequate staff onsite at its facilities in order to meet the daily clinical care needs of veterans…’”

“The VA obtained funding to purchase 225,000 laptops to support telework and telehealth initiatives from the supplemental appropriation, according to the spokesperson. ‘We already purchased 157,000 of these devices and plan to purchase the remaining devices this week,’ Noel said on April 22.”

“Additionally, the VA has procured more than 19,000 iPad devices to support telehealth, with 3,423 of them being used in support of the agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Noel…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA Expands Telehealth Services with New Device Purchases – By Phil Goldstein, April 28, 2020. FedTech.

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