But, no, the free tablets are not for you!
Fiscal Year 2014 means free 10,000 ipads for VHA providers. In the interests of efficiency this use of technology makes sense.
But security is the big concern. Providers can take their devices home, playground or anywhere (see 2-min. video). Can the VA-issued ipads be remotely locked, located, and recovered if stolen? Is the VA’s Office of Information and Technology able to protect veterans’ sensitive health information?
Veterans will get free apps, some just out of “pilot” status and most for expensive iphones/ipads. But the VA is loaning 1,100 VA-application loaded ipads to 1,100 seriously injured vets in a pilot.
The VA’s mobile applications look useful. If you’ve used any of these, let Asknod readers how it’s going.
VA Mobile Health (overview site) Most apps are for pricey iPads/iPhones.
VA Launchpad for Veterans (required a premium account and secure log in) Connects to your electronic health record.
VA App Store (apps are free); More links: Mobile Blue Button; Training Overview.
Clearly, not all veterans will benefit from the free applications because they don’t own smartphones and can’t afford data plans anyway. Lifeline programs don’t usually cover data. The cheapest and best data plan we’ve found is $25 a month (hybrid WI-FI/cell) from Republic Wireless.
Should the VA put out bids for discounted data plans so more veterans can participate? Should homeless vets and pensioners be issued VA phones with data plans? Would it be asking too much of providers to buy their own devices so that their low-income patients can stay in touch? Opinions welcome.