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VA, Microsoft Announce New Partnership Aimed at Improving Access to Care


May 29, 2019

According to a recent announcement, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and Microsoft Corp have formed a new partnership. Together, they hope to improve how veterans living in rural areas can access online services and benefits.  

“The partnership with Microsoft is another step toward achieving VA’s strategic goals of providing excellent customer service and business transformation,” the VA said in a press release.  

Through this partnership, the VA and Microsoft will work together to improve the quality of life for veterans. The companies will identify opportunities that extend broadband internet connectivity to the underserved rural veteran communities.  

Currently, the Veterans Health Administration’s offices of Community Engagement, Connected Care, Telehealth Services, Rural Health, and VA’s office of Information and Technology are already aiming to improving access to online services and benefits, including telemedicine. According to the VA, telemedicine and access to other online services and benefits are forms of digital inclusion. This inclusion, according to the agency, support veterans, their families, and the VA staff.  

“Digital inclusion can increase access to continuous health care services—enhance the workflow, reach, and efficiency of VA staff—and support veterans’ participation in their own health care,” the agency wrote in a press statement.  

“This partnership will serve a particularly vulnerable population of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Millions of people in the U.S., including many of the 4.7 million Veterans living in rural areas, lack the broadband internet connection necessary to access opportunities to learn, work, access information and communicate.” 

This partnership was formalized in mid-April 2019.  

Julie Gould  

Reference:

The Department of Veteran Affairs. VA partners with Microsoft to improve how rural Veterans access VA’s online services and benefits [press release]. https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5258. Published May 22, 2019. Accessed May 29, 2019.  

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