Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center
VA Video Connect eases the stress of commuting
VA Video Connect has eased the stress that commuting to appointments was putting on 33-year-old U.S. Army Veteran Devika Mangaroo after her doctor transferred from Coatesville VA Medical Center to another clinic 45 minutes away.
Mangaroo was determined to maintain the relationship she had developed with her doctor and nearly two years ago began commuting one hour each way to the Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Newtown Square, a satellite of Coatesville located in Delaware County.
"I refused to see someone else," explained Mangaroo. "I didn't want to have to go through my lengthy history with someone else to get care."
Each appointment meant half a day of work missed and with one or two appointments per week, her medical appointments were interfering with other aspects of her life. There was more to consider than just lost time at work, errands were put off, commuting through Philadelphia traffic and the worry over winter weather were added stressors.
Dr. Bernadette Hayburn, Clinical Psychologist, understood the stress commuting to appointments was causing and thought Mangaroo was the right candidate to be her first patient to use VA Video Connect.
"I knew Devika would be a good candidate because among other things, she was familiar with the technology; she uses it to speak to family abroad," said Hayburn. "Now I have Vietnam Veterans who are in their seventies using it because they are no longer able to drive themselves to their appointments."
Home telehealth services saves Veterans from traveling to clinics and helps them stay healthy and independent. This is all done through real-time, interactive video visits, in-home and mobile health remote monitoring.
"I didn't have to do anything," said Mangaroo describing her first call. "They called me to schedule an appointment and then sent me a link on the day of my appointment and I just got onto my phone and clicked the link and it took me where I needed to be."
After using the VA Video Connect for nearly 18 months Mangaroo describes the convenience she enjoys from Telehealth.
"I don't feel I have lost anything. I feel I have gained," explains Mangaroo. "You can do it through your phone, your tablet or your laptop."
Typically, when Mangaroo has an appointment during the work day she simply walks out to her car for privacy and connects there using her phone but she has also connected to her doctor while traveling out-of-state.
The majority of Coatesville appointments last year were made through the Mental Health clinics followed by Primary Care, said to Ralph Strickland, CVAMC's Connected Care Manager. "This year Coatesville has begun to see Connected Care appointments for pharmacy, nutrition and social work."
Veterans can use Telehealth to access more than 50 specialty clinics from their local VA clinic, CBOC or hospital by talking to their provider asking if Telehealth is right for them.