The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently launched VEText, a text messaging appointment-reminder system, which to date has helped VA reduce no-show medical visits by more than 100,000.
VA introduced VEText in March and 138 VA facilities are currently using the automated interactive text-message system, which reminds Veterans of upcoming health-care appointments, allowing them easily to confirm or cancel the event.
Every missed appointment represents a lost opportunity to provide faster access to care for a Veteran in need. VEText underscores VA’s commitment to digital modernization and represents a milestone in putting more user-friendly capabilities in the hands of Veterans and our employees.
According to the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Office of Veterans Access to Care, as of July 9, more than 3.24 million patients have received VEText messages and canceled 319,504 appointments, freeing up time slots for other Veterans to use.
Veterans who have previously used the VA health-care system — with a cell phone number listed in their electronic health records — are automatically enrolled in VEText. Veterans can update their phone numbers during the check-in or check-out process for an appointment, at any kiosk.
The first text message reminder will be sent seven days before the appointment, and a second reminder text message will be sent two days before the appointment. The timing/frequency of the reminders may vary by facility. Veterans should review the date and time of each appointment and use the prompts provided in the message to either confirm or cancel the appointment. Veterans with multiple appointments on the same day will receive multiple reminders.
The VEText system also has an easy to use opt-out process for Veterans who do not want to use the text messaging reminders. Simply reply to the text message with “STOP.” Additionally, all appointment reminder messages contain instructions on how to end the message delivery. If you want to restart the text message appointment reminders, simply text “START” to a previous reminder message and service will resume.
VEText works for VA health care appointments only and the text messages do not currently replace the letters and automated phone calls Veterans already receive for appointment reminders.
VEText is integrated with VA’s electronic health-records system and does not require manual action by VA staff. Appointments are automatically scheduled and canceled via text message, freeing staff to provide more personalized care to Veterans.
“VEText has changed the way we communicate with Veteran patients. Veterans appreciate the convenient, user-friendly system and understand this technology not only helps them, but their fellow Veterans as well.
For more information about VEText, visit: https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/VEText.asp.
For more information on VA Benefits, contact Montgomery County Veteran Service at 936-539-7842,
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