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Technology is helping Maryland veterans see a doctor without leaving their homes

Veterans virtually meeting health care providers
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Posted at 11:36 AM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 11:50:29-05

The VA Maryland Health Care system is giving veterans the health care they need, even if they can't make it to see the doctor face-to-face.

Veterans can virtually meet with health care providers using their phones, computers and tables with VA Video Connect. The app, which was rolled out in July of 2019, uses a secure, live video telehealth system for appointments.

“This is about meeting the needs of veterans where they are,” said Dr. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “VA Video Connect allows clinicians to hold virtual health care appointments with veterans from anywhere using secure and private connections. It makes health care more accessible and reduces travel times for our patients.”

This app allows veterans and their health care providers to determine if the ailment in question requires a visit to the office or if the veteran can be helped during the video chat. This is particularly helpful for Veterans who may have a medical condition that prevents them from getting to a VA facility.

Army veteran Keith Hertzog, 68, has a long drive tot he VA and has used the system to help him, "The drive, mostly traffic being a big factor, made it difficult to get to all my appointments. I’d miss some of them due to the commute,” said Hertzog, a Delaware resident who drives to the Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic for care. “Another important aspect of using the technology is that my wife can now participate with me, and that’s been helpful.”

Marine veteran Steven Levine, 31, uses this technology in every day life, so it was a natrual fit for him, "I’m always streaming video and used to FaceTime, so the convenience of being able to meet with my doctors using the technology makes it easier for me to get care in the early morning hours without having to leave the house, or when I’m out of town,” he said. “It’s great. I love it! I can talk to my doctor anywhere, anytime. I can go on vacation and still keep my appointment.”

Hertzog and Levine urge other veterans to give it a try. “At first, I wasn’t sure if I could manage it, but then after I did, I saw how easy it was. It really is like a face-to-face appointment, except that it’s on the phone,” Hertzog said.

The VA Video Connect app works on nearly any mobile or web-based device with an internet connection and a web camera, including smart phones and laptops, among others. Veterans can visit the VA Video Connect app test site on their mobile devices to test if they are compatible with the program.