GovernmentCIO: How VA is Conquering the Digital Divide

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to pair its recent advances in telehealth capacities with aid programs to bridge the digital divide in rural areas and provide assistance to veterans who might not be able to personally afford new technology.”

“To accomplish this, the agency has worked to provide mobile devices to both patients and health care providers.”

“’We’ve distributed over 48,000 webcams to providers and 22,000 headsets, along with thousands of iPads, monitors and speakers for veterans,’ said VA Executive Director for Telehealth Dr. Kevin Galpin during an April 28 hearing with the Senate Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. ‘We recognize because of the digital divide that if we didn’t help them with the technology, that they were not going to be able to participate. So we’ve distributed over 84,000 iPads and 20,000 cellular phones.’”

“Galpin outlined an ongoing program called the Digital Divide Console, which ensures qualified veterans who don’t have internet access or a video-capable device receive the technology in order to access remote care.”

“’We felt we needed a systematic way when we identified a veteran who did not have the internet or technology to participate in our telehealth programs that we could get them assistance,’ Galpin said about the program. ‘Right now, at all of our medical centers, if a provider identifies a veteran in that category, they can refer the veteran to social workers who have now been trained to help veterans overcome the digital divide…’”

“Going forward, VA is looking to pair its telehealth development strategy with ensuring veterans living in remote areas are able to benefit from newly available resources — including through providing access to caregivers with specialized experience in treating rare medical conditions…” Read the full article here.

Source: How VA is Conquering the Digital Divide — By Adam Patterson, May 3, 2021. GovernmentCIO.

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