iPad Apps Provide Mobile Tools for Military Veterans' Caregivers

 
 
By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2013-09-06 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working on a yearlong pilot to see how iPads help more than 1,000 family caregivers tend to injured post-9/11 veterans. The department has distributed 900 iPads to caregivers, and it's developing mobile apps to help veterans manage their care. These apps include a journaling tool that allows caregivers to track vital signs and patient-generated data, as well as a summary-of-care app that enables veterans and their caregivers to view lab results, medications, allergies, and information on past and upcoming appointments. The VA will study the use of the apps to see how they affect caregivers' stress levels, according to the agency. "The goal is to better support the caregivers in their difficult job of providing care," Kathleen Frisbee, director of Web and mobile solutions in the Veterans Health Administration, told eWEEK. The VA will issue its first report in six months and a final report in a year regarding how effective the apps are in reducing caregivers' burdens. In addition, the VA will study how use of the iPad affects admissions, the amount of outpatient and emergency room visits, as well as clinic no-show rates, Frisbee said. Here eWEEK takes a look at the iPad apps the VA has built and how they might help caregivers.

 
 
 
  • iPad Apps Provide Mobile Tools for Military Veterans' Caregivers

    by Brian T. Horowitz
    1 - iPad Apps Provide Mobile Tools for Military Veterans' Caregivers
  • Launch Pad Provides Access to Apps

    Launchpad comes preinstalled on the 900 iPads provided by the VA for use in the caregiver pilot. It allows users to access the VA's mobile health apps.
    2 - Launch Pad Provides Access to Apps
  • Health Advocate App Enables Remote Provisioning

    With the VA's Health Advocate app, veterans can designate a person such as a caregiver to view their health information and enter information on their behalf. The health advocate can enter a patient's data such driver's license number and basic info to enable remote provisioning of the individual.
    3 - Health Advocate App Enables Remote Provisioning
  • VA Provides Stress Coping Tips

    Care4Caregivers provides a way for caregivers to self-assess their levels of stress. It also offers stress-coping tips as well as community resources. The VA is conducting a study on how caregivers can reduce stress and burden levels through technology.
    4 - VA Provides Stress Coping Tips
  • VA PTSDCoach Helps Manage Stress

    PTSDCoach is an app that allows veterans to manage symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Veterans can perform self-assessments and receive tips on managing their symptoms and stress levels, based on their score.
    5 - VA PTSDCoach Helps Manage Stress
  • Veterans Share a Summary of Care

    The VA's Summary of Care app enables veterans and caregivers to monitor their health over time. Veterans can carry the information, and show it on their iPad to clinicians outside the VA or to family members, Frisbee noted. "It makes the information very sharable," she said.
    6 - Veterans Share a Summary of Care
  • Secure Messaging From One Provider to Another

    The VA's secure-messaging app allows veterans to connect with their care team on "non-urgent issues." In the health care industry, services such as Verizon's Secure Universal Message Services allow providers to securely send messages and share clinical data from one caregiver to another.
    7 - Secure Messaging From One Provider to Another
  • iPad App Prompts for Rx Refills

    Veterans and caregivers can request refills and track them on their Apple tablet. Users can view eligible prescriptions and use the VA Mail Order Pharmacy to submit refill requests. As part of the VA pilot, the iPad helps veterans with their medication by allowing them to view and refill them and receive notification on when to take them, Frisbee said.
    8 - iPad App Prompts for Rx Refills
  • Reminders App Pushes Notifications to Keep Vets Organized

    The reminders app allows veterans to receive notifications on their medications, such as start date, medication schedule and a reminder on frequency. It also keeps veterans on track to meet treatment goals. A new feature not yet completed will allow the primary care team to send notifications to caregivers using the notification app, Frisbee said.
    9 - Reminders App Pushes Notifications to Keep Vets Organized
  • Journaling About Communications and Vitals

    The e-journaling app allows caregivers to compile basic vitals such as blood pressure, temperature, height and weight. It also allows patients to keep track of communications, such as whom they last spoke with at the medical center, Frisbee said. The journaling app differs from electronic health records (EHRs) because it's the patient's personal journal, she said. "It's displayed in a way that makes it immediately consumable by the veteran and the caregiver," Frisbee said.
    10 - Journaling About Communications and Vitals
  • Assessing the Readiness of a Caregiver

    The self-assessment iPad app allows the VA to determine how well-prepared the caregivers are to treat veterans by having them answer multiple-choice questions. It enables the VA to seek feedback from caregivers on a secure platform.
    11 - Assessing the Readiness of a Caregiver
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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