VA Harnesses Telehealth and Virtual Tools To Deliver High-Quality Health Care to Rural Veterans

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Connected Care


More than 4.4 million Veterans in the United States reside in rural areas. That is almost one-
quarter of the nation’s Veteran population.

Veterans in rural areas often face unique health care challenges not shared by their suburban and
urban counterparts. For example, rural communities tend to have longer travel times to medical
centers, fewer local specialists, and limited access to broadband internet.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working to address these disparities and expand
access to care in rural communities. VA’s Office of Connected Care helps Veterans in rural areas
receive care through telehealth and other virtual tools.

Convenient, High-Quality Virtual Care

VA offers innovative technologies to help Veterans overcome barriers to care. In fiscal 2023,
about 40% of Veterans who used VA health care received some of their care through telehealth.

VA Video Connect is VA’s secure videoconferencing app for video telehealth appointments.
Veterans can meet with their VA providers using almost any smartphone, tablet, or computer
with an internet connection. Veterans can also invite caregivers or family members to join their
video visit. VA Video Connect enables Veterans to virtually connect with specialists and
providers, near and far, without having to travel to an in-person appointment.

Remote Patient Monitoring – Home Telehealth provides Veterans with devices to measure their
vital signs at home. Veterans can then upload and share the vital sign data with their VA care
team. The care team then remotely monitors the health information to identify potential medical

My HealtheVet is VA’s online patient portal that enables Veterans to manage their VA care.
Veterans can exchange secure messages with their providers, request refills for their
prescriptions, manage their appointments, and more.

The VA App Store hosts more than 50 mobile apps that connect Veterans with their VA care
team and enable them to manage medical conditions. For example, Annie is VA’s automated text
messaging system that sends Veterans reminders to take their medications, instructions for HOPAT VA OCC Rural Health Blog Post 3.20.24, Page 2 upcoming appointments, and more. The PTSD Coach app provides tools for managing and tracking PTSD symptoms.

Bridging the Digital Divide

For Veterans with limited internet connectivity or without a telehealth-capable device, VA
telehealth services might not seem like an option. But VA is working to bridge the digital divide
and ensure that all Veterans have the technology and internet connection they need to access
their VA care through telehealth.

The Digital Divide Consult lends internet-connected tablets to Veterans, with 115,000 4G tablets
currently deployed to Veterans. These tablets connect Veterans with their VA care team and
enable them to join virtual appointments through VA Video Connect.

ATLAS (Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations) locations offer private, comfortable
spaces equipped with internet access and the technology Veterans need to meet with their VA
provider through VA Video Connect.

Trusted Care: Anytime, Anywhere

VA telehealth expands care beyond traditional office visits, allowing Veterans to access care
from anywhere in the country. In fiscal 2023, more than 770,000 Veterans living in rural
communities participated in over 2.9 million telehealth episodes of care.

As one of the nation’s largest providers of telehealth services, VA delivers high-quality clinical
care directly to Veterans where and when they need it. Addressing the unique needs and health
challenges of Veterans living in rural areas remains a top priority for VA.

To learn more about VA virtual care options, visit the Office of Connected Care website.