The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) offices of Women’s Health Services and Connected Care recently released two women’s health applications (apps) for VA and non-VA care team members – the Preconception Care and Caring4Women Veterans apps. Both apps provide important guidance in caring for and counseling women Veterans and are provided free of charge.
Find the direct download links for Apple and Android App Stores on the Preconception Care and Caring4Women Veterans pages of the VA Mobile App Store. Since being released in December 2015, the apps have been downloaded by nearly 1,000 users.
The Preconception Care app provides care teams with information to support the integration of preconception care into comprehensive primary care, thereby optimizing the health of women Veterans of reproductive age. The app provides a single, easy access point for provider-centered resources that address a variety of factors, including birth control usage, reproductive history, health status, family and genetic history and risks, vaccinations received and lifestyle factors.
Megan Gerber, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Women’s Health at the VA Boston Healthcare System says she enjoys using the Preconception Care app because it covers a wide variety of topics ranging from preconception care to post-partum visits. She can easily use the app as a guide while counseling patients during clinical visits.
“The Preconception Care app is very useful for clinical care and I have already used it multiple times to support patient care. This is the first resource I have seen that compiles all preconception care resources into one readily available place,” Gerber said.
Women Veterans may have health care needs that differ from both male Veterans and the general female population. The Caring4Women Veterans app provides care teams with information to help address the unique physical and mental health issues that affect women Veterans. Because many women Veterans seek health care outside of the VA network, it is important that both their VA and non-VA providers have the resources necessary to provide informed and comprehensive care.
Ishita Thakar, MD, FACP, Women’s Health Medical Director at the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System says the Caring4Women Veterans app serves as a valuable educational tool for VA and non-VA care teams. She emphasized that this is an important resource for medical residents and other care team members unfamiliar with caring for women Veterans and the unique health issues that may affect them.
“The Caring4Women Veterans app is a one stop shop for comprehensive information targeting the specific health care needs of women Veterans and it is very user friendly,” Thakar said.
While the apps were originally developed for care teams serving women Veterans, both apps are also valuable for Veterans and other individuals. For example, the Preconception Care app gives Veterans the tools to develop their own reproductive health plan. It also provides resources for women curious to learn more about many topics including birth control methods, vaccinations, and how to plan for pregnancy. The Caring4Women Veteran app provides information and access to resources for women Veterans transitioning to civilian life, including where to go for community support, such as their Women Veterans Program Manager, Vet Centers and more.
Explore and access additional apps developed by VA Mobile, free for both care team members and patients at the VA App Store: http://mobile.va.gov/appstore. Additionally, training materials, including user manuals, quick start guides and FAQs, are available for many of the apps via the VA App Store.
For more information about the VHA office of Women’s Health Services and to view additional resources available for care team members working with women Veteran patients, visit: http://www.womenshealth.va.gov/WOMENSHEALTH/latestinformation/MobileApps.asp.