“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.

At the VA Maryland Health Care System, veterans can virtually meet with their health care providers anywhere using their phones, computers or tablets with the VA Video Connect application. Since its rollout in July 2019, the VA Video Connect app has helped veterans get the care they need via secure, live video telehealth appointments. The VA Video Connect app has proven to be a special benefit for mental health patients and for veterans where distance can serve as a barrier to accessing health care services.

“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.”

Veterans and their health care providers decide together whether to use VA Video Connect for a medical visit. Veterans should talk to their VA providers about using VA Video Connect if they live far from a VA facility; have medical conditions that make it difficult to travel to a VA medical facility; lack time to attend an in-person appointment; or a hands-on physical examination is not required.

For veterans using the app, the expanded choice is an advantage. Army veteran Keith Hertzog, 68, and Marine veteran Steven Levine, 31, agree that the technology has offered more choices that saved them travel time to and from appointments, but more importantly, helped them to stay on track with their treatment plans.

“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.”

For younger veterans like Levine who are already accustomed to using technology, the VA Video Connect offers a seamless transition to keeping up with health care appointments when work and other commitments interfere with maintaining health care visits.    

“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 that has 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.
Veterans can learn more about VA Video Connect at https://mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.

The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at three medical centers and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from VAMHCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, VAMHCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a veteran can do. To enroll for VA health care, interested veterans can call 877-222-8387 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or they can visit http://www.va.gov and clinic on “Apply now for VA health

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