VA to roll out mobile app for primary-care appointment scheduling

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is set to launch online scheduling options in January 2017, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The agency's patients will be able to schedule primary care appointments via app, through a smartphone, tablet or computer. On the app, patients will be able to schedule their visit themselves by checking what appointments are available and choosing an open slot. The cost to develop this app, with its focus on transparency, totaled $3.2 million. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to add audiology, optometry and mental health appointments to the online scheduling platform's capabilities.

Other health systems with scheduling apps have only seen minority of patients use their services, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune; at the San Diego Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park, for example, only 7 percent of patients use online capabilities to schedule appointments. However, online scheduling is the primary request of patients who use the agency's online portal MyHealtheVet and a trial run of the app with veterans in West Haven, Conn., gave the app a 91 percent approval rate.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' San Diego call center will continue to be available for scheduling, for those who prefer not to use the online option.

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