Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
Increasing Real Time Access to Care for Veterans
Volunteers are leading the way in increasing real time access to care for Veterans at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System through a project developed to assist with promoting Video on Demand.
VA’s Video on Demand option connects Veterans with their health care team from anywhere, using encryption to ensure a secure and private session. It makes VA health care more convenient and reduces travel times for Veterans, especially those in rural areas with limited access to VA health care facilities, and it allows quick and easy health care access from any mobile or web-based device.
Nathan Witt, Voluntary Service Officer said, “Tom David is one of our volunteers with Vietnam Veterans of America. When Tom found out about Video on Demand he thought that it would be a worthwhile project because anything that is going to improve access to care is one of the priorities for VA Voluntary Service. Tom has spent time talking to Veterans and has identified barriers that they face whenever utilizing the app.”
Volunteer Tom David explained that, “We’re interviewing Veterans to find out how much, if anything, they know about Video on Demand. We especially want to hear from those who live far from a VA facility. Our goal is to find out how much it is being utilized at present and how we can go about offering it to more Veterans.”
The Women’s Health Clinic staff have directly seen an increase in Video on Demand users and have witnessed the benefits experienced by Veterans.
“Here in the Women’s Clinic we’re really promoting Video on Demand. A patient doesn’t leave my office or my nurse’s office without being given information about Video on Demand,” said Dr Sonia Perez-Padilla, Women’s Health Staff Physician.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Serena Tita has incorporated Video on Demand into her healthcare routine and has experienced great progress despite facing complications stemming from surgery.
“After having a little bit of a breakdown after a complicated knee replacement, I was at my lowest level and I needed to reach my primary care and mental health providers. Within minutes, they were able to reach out to me utilizing Video on Demand and it just soothed me and made me feel like I had someone there for me,” Tita said.
Working with Veterans to teach them how to use Video on Demand during a face-to-face consultation is offered to those who are unfamiliar with the technology.
Linda Stanley, registered nurse in the Women’s Clinic works with Veterans to make them feel comfortable with utilizing the technology.
“I’ve come up with an innovative way to teach patients how to use Video on Demand. When I have a patient in my office and it is appropriate, I go ahead and do a Video on Demand session with them and show them what link to connect to on their phone. It makes the process more comfortable for them and then they become good customers for future Video on Demand appointments. They can see the benefit and the convenience of Video on Demand,” she said.
Tita explains that the convenience of Video on Demand has given her the added support needed to make her recovery.
“I’m very blessed with the VA care that I have had. I do not blame anyone for the complications that I am having. I’m just having complications and I’m going to bounce back, but with the integrity and family type support that I have been getting from my providers, it really helps me sleep at night,” she said.
This volunteer-led initiative is only one of the many ways Voluntary Service is working to improve the Veteran’s overall experience at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.
Witt explained that one of the biggest sources of pride working with volunteers is that he knows that they are improving the overall service Veterans receive.
“I think one of the biggest sources of pride that we have in coming to work in Voluntary Service everyday is that we get to work side by side with about 1160 volunteers, that last year provided an excess of 176,000 volunteer hours. The numbers are one thing, but what it really comes down to is the day to day interaction that our volunteers are having with Veterans and knowing that they are improving the service that Veterans receive. I don’t know what more we can ask of our volunteers, but every time we do, they step up and seem to do more,” he said.
Veterans interested in scheduling an appointment to incorporate Video on Demand into their healthcare routine may contact their healthcare provider or visit: https://mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect for more information.