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Are you getting VA’s text messages? VA is texting health care updates and reminders

VA is sending text messages to its 7+ million Veterans enrolled in VA health care. The texts deliver VA’s latest information, resources and guidance. VA’s next wide-scale VEText message will be on how Veterans can access virtual mental care.

Update Your Contact Information Now

If you are not receiving these important updates, it’s possible that VA doesn’t have your updated contact information. Login to VA.gov to view your profile, make any updates, and select your notification preferences–such as receiving VEText text messages on important information from VA. For more detailed instructions, see Veterans can now update their contact information online.

Leveraging Innovation

Launched at the Loma Linda, Calif., VA Medical Center in March 2018, VEText was developed by an innovative team of VA employees to better serve Veterans with convenient text appointment reminders, similar to the messages available in private industry. VEText quickly grew so popular and successful, it expanded nationally. It is now available at all VA Medical Centers. VEText doesn’t replace the letters, postcards, or automated phone call reminders VA patients currently receive, but it provides an additional, convenient communication channel.

“VEText is an example of how agile development can have a rapid impact on Veteran care,” says Deanna Callahan, VEText Program Manager. “We are a small group that can rapidly make changes to accommodate new requirements quickly. The latest messages pointing to updated resources are a perfect example of that.”

 

VEText sends appointment reminders to Veterans enrolled in VA health care.

VEText sends appointment reminders to Veterans enrolled in VA health care.

VEText also reminds you of your medical appointments and open slot options

With VEText, you can receive an interactive text message reminder of your upcoming medical appointment’s date, time and location a week beforehand. Then it sends a second reminder a couple of days before the appointment. The Open Slot Management feature will send a text offering a sooner appointment if there is one available and if you are scheduled more than 30 days from your provider-indicated appointment date. You can reply at a convenient time to CONFIRM or to CANCEL the appointment. To date, more than 7.1 million Veterans are receiving VEText for health care appointment reminders, resulting in a more than 10% decrease of missed or no-show appointments.

VA automatically enrolls patients in VEText based on the contact information VA has on file, but you can easily reply STOP to opt out of receiving these text reminders or START to a previous text to opt back in if you later change your mind. Enrolled VA patients can manage notification preferences and contact information at any time through VA.gov.

A better digital experience

This ability for Veterans to quickly receive important information and easily manage their communication preferences online through VA.gov is the result of a collaboration between the VEText team, Veterans Experience Office, Chief Technology Office and Veterans Health Administration, led by a Presidential Innovation Fellow to improve how VA reaches Veterans in trusted, timely and actionable ways.

“We’re supporting efforts across VA’s portfolio of services: everything from delivering a great digital experience on VA.gov to using artificial intelligence to accelerate the benefit claims process, to modernizing communications direct to Veterans–in this case, accelerating the agency’s adoption of digital notifications,” says Charles Worthington, VA Chief Technology Officer.

Ensuring modernized, effective communications with Veterans when and how they need it takes a collaborative, Veteran-centric focus.

“Veterans need solutions that meet them where they are, not where we are,” says Clarice Chan, Presidential Innovation Fellow. “We are infusing industry best practices into VA to build Veteran-centric user experiences. This helps us deliver information and services to Veterans more effectively.”

Future enhancements include expanding the text reminder feature to pharmacy notifications, benefit claims status updates and direct deposit notifications.

For more information on messaging options visit: VEText

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