The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was an early adopter of telehealth services, beginning in 2003. Fifteen years later, their telehealth initiatives were treating more than 600,000 veterans in 1.7 million episodes of care.
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the expansion of telehealth services across all types of care providers. Although the VA already had a robust program in place, they weren’t anticipating the need to scale from the normal 50,000 remote access users to more than 200,000. Our long-standing relationship with the VA put NetApp in a position to offer immediate assistance through secure and scalable technology to support their urgent needs.
The department’s Citrix Access Gateway provides secure access to nearly all VA resources via a single website. Comprehensive user authentication protects sensitive data, including PPI and PHI stored in the Computerized Patient Record System, along with most of the VA’s other critical health care systems. Once authenticated, users can access the necessary information from any secure location, allowing workers in both clinical and operational support roles to manage veterans’ care.
VA Telehealth with FlexPod
In April 2020, the VA expanded its FlexPod® converged infrastructure for remote access environments, enabling additional users and services. The contract award announcement cites the need for “increased performance and system availability in supporting emergency Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) efforts.” The new system will move the VA to the current version of the virtualization technology and expand their existing high-availability systems, which are capable of fault tolerance and are compliant with contingency planning regulations, to include hot standby and virtual machine recovery processes. This expansion will allow coverage if the VA experiences a systems outage.
The VA’s telehealth program is growing by 22% every year, including the consistent introduction of new applications and services. This is just one of the many critical programs that NetApp supports at the VA, where we have been the primary storage and data management partner for over a decade.
We are proud of the role that NetApp® technologies and solutions serve in providing care to U.S. veterans wherever they live, and in crisis situations including the COVID-19 pandemic.