OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — A new app designed to help veterans has rolled out through the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.
The app allows veterans to select the type of assistance they need, and get in touch with a medical professional immediately.
The goal of the VA Health Chat app is to improve communication and the timeliness of getting help for veterans. Since the OKC VA Healthcare Center sees around 6,000 veterans every month, staff members are excited for what the app can do.
“The newest one we’ve just implemented is the first one of its kind in all of VAs across the nation,” said Erica Love, Connected Care Specialist at OKC VA Healthcare Center. “It’s for community care so that the veterans can talk directly to our community care staff, instead of experiencing those long wait times on the phone and stuff.”
The new app has multiple options for veterans to chat with VA staff when they need help.
“They log into it and they select one of our chat options,” Love said. “As soon as they click it, they are in queue to chat with a person who works for a VA staff person live, so they are reconnected with someone within minutes.”
A nurse that sees hundreds of veterans a day says this will be a game changer.
“It will be a quicker way to access us,” said Martha Tichenor, Assistant Chief Nurse Community Care at OKC VA Healthcare Center.
This will allow veterans to get the help they need in a timely manner.
“The one way that they reach us is by telephone, and so sometimes that can mean wait times in a queue,” Tichenor said. “But we know that veterans, like all of us, are very busy and sometimes it’s a lot easier to just send a quick message through an app, through a chat.”
Veterans can create an account in one of four ways, and once they login they will have a multitude of options to choose from depending on the help they need.
“One for women’s health and another one for urgent care,” Love said.
Staff will be on standby ready to chat.
“They identified selected staff that would be trained and that’s their area,” Love said. “We also have a backup supervisor at any time where if a call goes past five minutes, if the veteran is waiting and keeps five minutes, it will alert the supervisor to let them know they have a hot patient.”
The services run during regular business hours and when you log into the app, it will show when the services are open or closed. You can get started by clicking mobile.va.gov/appstore.