Apple today confirmed that the Health Records feature on iPhone will soon be available to veterans.
The company is working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure that, for the first time, U.S. veterans receiving care through the Veterans Health Administration will have access to their health records directly on their iPhone.
Like many federal agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs has embarked on the journey of integrating iPhones and iPads as mobile solutions. The agency currently has 20,000 mobile devices that includes iPhones and iPads along with some BlackBerries and a small number of Android devices. Despite the range of devices, the VA has been very active in trying to eliminate mobile data breaches and, according to the VA’s director of Mobile and Security Assurance Donald Kachman, the agency’s campaign has been extremely successful.
Kachman credits encryption technologies with as a major factor in that success – 99% of all VA data is now secured around the clock on mobile devices and desktop PCs. The security approach is one that can be a model for any organization.
Department of Veterans Affairs is no stranger iOS devices or to developing custom apps to help deliver key services to veterans and their families. In fact, the VA’s CIO last year said that the agency needed to become “iPad friendly” in order to effectively support the agency’s physicians, nurse, and other medical staff and an iOS pilot program was launched earlier this year.
More recently, the VA has been looking for ways that mobile technology can help homeless veterans find food, shelter, and other critical resources. To achieve that goal and raise awareness of veteran homelessness across the country (one out of six homeless adults in America is a veteran), the VA has teamed up with JBJ Soul Foundation, the non-profit charity created by music legend Jon Bon Jovi to launch an iOS/Android app contest called Project REACH.
The iPad is already a big hit with the healthcare industry. A new pilot project being run by Veterans Affairs Department could encourage the iPad to be used as a longterm home care solution as well. As part of the agency’s Family Caregivers program, the VA will deploy 1,000 iPads to family members of veterans suffering from injuries and disorders associated with military deployments after 9/11.
The VA program was created to help disabled veterans remain at home with loved ones providing personal care. It already provides a range of important resources for caregivers including a monthly stipend, travel expenses for care-related activities, health-related training, counseling services, and respite care.