In less than two minutes inside an ATLAS pod, you’ll rethink every trip you’ve made to a doctor’s office. The hallways, the fluorescent lighting, and the clinical exam rooms are nowhere to be found.

And by the time you notice their absence, the monitor speaks.

Advancing Telehealth through Local Access Stations (ATLAS) is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ latest innovative virtual health care experience to increase Veteran access to care. ATLAS caters to Veterans living in rural areas with long travel times to VA health care facilities or with limited connectivity at home.

A demonstration was available at the 120th Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Convention in Orlando, Florida, held July 20–24, 2019. The ATLAS pod demonstration will make its next appearance at the American Legion annual conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, August 23-29, 2019.

Sample ATLAS pods at the VFW convention.

The VFW National Convention displayed these sample ATLAS pods. Actual ATLAS sites will be private spaces.

“Everything about an ATLAS pod was designed with the Veteran in mind,” said Dr. Kevin Galpin, executive director of VA Telehealth Services. During the convention, Galpin and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie talked about the initiative while in the ATLAS pod.

Galpin said, “ATLAS is a part of our Anywhere to Anywhere campaign and an exciting future where all Veterans have timely access to VA health care, no matter where they live, without having to leave their homes or home communities.”

Iconic, Veteran-centric design

Philips and Steelcase Health partnered to design the booth. It’s spacious enough for a Veteran patient and a family member or caregiver to videoconference with a VA provider through a large monitor. VA will deliver services such as primary care, mental health counseling, clinical pharmacy, nutrition services, social work, and more.

The pod’s atmospheric lighting is one of its most iconic features. It enables Veterans to choose from a range of light presets emulating peaceful locations, like a beach or vineyard.

VFW is one of two Veteran service organizations that will offer ATLAS VA telehealth care at select locations around the country.

“Our mission is to serve our Veterans, to advocate on their behalf, and to ensure they have access to the care and benefits they have earned,” said Carlos Fuentes, VFW legislative director. “We are proud to collaborate with VA to provide a convenient place for Veterans to communicate with their health care teams and address an access to care barrier for our nation’s Veterans.”

The first three VFW posts to offer ATLAS visits will be in Eureka, Montana; Linesville, Pennsylvania; and Los Banos, California.

For more information, visit the ATLAS website.

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Published on Aug. 22, 2019

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  1. Wrisi young August 25, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    This is very good: The first three VFW posts to offer ATLAS visits will be in Eureka, Montana; Linesville, Pennsylvania; and Los Banos, California.

  2. Daniel L Kibbee August 22, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Thumbs up… Having been in So. Oregon and other areas with big rural Veteran population, any outreach to Veterans is huge. I’ve seen many Veterans who didn’t know the benefits and care that was available to them …. VFW a good starting place . Put ATLAS in every VISN so you can get accurate use and desire to be used. Rural used to be addressed many years ago then it changed.

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