It’s not controversial to say that veteran care needs work: defending those who’ve defended all of us at the cost of their minds and bodies needs to be a higher priority. 

But how can we achieve these goals with the often limited budgets veterans’ healthcare facilities and organizations are often saddled with?

The key to a brighter future for veteran care is to actively embrace that very future — we must learn how to find and implement the latest technological breakthroughs for veteran therapy, care, and communication infrastructure. At least in the United States, improvement in healthcare equipment and technology for veterans has actually been federally mandated — the time is now to get our house in order, so to speak.

So how can LED headsets, medical computers, and mobile healthcare really transform the field of veteran care?

Mobile Health and Telehealth for Homeless and Disabled Vets

Veterans who have suffered economic hardship, which is unfortunately quite common, don’t always have the means to travel to their healthcare facility. At the same time, veterans with disabilities can have mobility concerns that may prevent them from seeing their doctor as often as they should. 

This is where mobile health centers can make a huge difference for veterans everywhere, no matter their transportation situation (or lack thereof). 

Mobile health clinics — essentially vans or buses outfitted with medical gear and medical professionals — have seen solid success in a number of markets. Moreover, they’re incredibly cost-effective: studies show that average return on mobile health is $12 dollars saved for every $1 spent

These mobile health clinics often use things like battery-powered medical PCs and medical tablets to do the heavy lifting in the EMR department. With 4G capabilities, these medical computers can link up with medical records no matter where they are. 

Of course, these tablets and mobile computers are also fantastic for helping disenfranchised veterans sign up for healthcare and financial services they may have otherwise missed due to lack of access or awareness. 

Also, some of these mobile clinics even have advanced diagnostic imaging PCs attached to things like x-ray machines or CT scanners to provide top-of-the-line care anywhere. 

Telehealth centers have also proved a successful alternative to mobile health clinics, especially in rural areas. For instance, the Alabama Department of Public Health has recently deployed a strategy of telehealth for mental health, rehab, and other specialties to give veterans greater access to healthcare no matter what their location, disability, or lack of access to transportation. They paid for most of this modernization through grants encouraging telehealth adoption that are available to many healthcare facilities. 

Both mobile and telehealth options are a fantastic choice for veteran’s health facilities on a budget — it gives healthcare a wider net to cast, the ability to reach both patients and specialists.

Healing the Mind with Digital Therapy

Veterans often require a great deal of therapeutic intervention, for obvious reasons. Luckily, modern advances — especially in the world of VR and medical devices — have given new tools to clinicians and their veteran patients. 

LED Therapy

Explosives, shrapnel, falls, and other head wounds amongst veterans are not uncommon, and with them comes the tragic specter of permanent brain injury.

However, innovative technologies like LED therapy have proved effective, and are already being used on veterans with good results. 

How it works: a headset is worn by the injured patient, one which has been customized with LEDs in strategic locations on the head to maximize blood flow. These treatments last around a half an hour and are repeated at regular intervals on a weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on patient needs.

The LEDs emit light in a wavelength of either 600nm (red) or 800-900nm (NIR), which is actually able to penetrate the patient’s skin and skull and reach the brain cells underneath. Light at these wavelengths has been proven to augment and improve the natural cellular activity and regenerative properties of affected cells, which boosts things like cognition and memory in traumatized patients.

Virtual Reality Therapy

Veterans with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) have been receiving standard therapy and medication for years, and it’s extremely helpful and vital for long-term recovery.

However, technology like virtual reality is providing a new avenue for effective therapy. Some VR therapy sessions — usually at something like a telehealth center or local clinic — can connect with specialty therapists and psychologists from around the world, allowing troubled veterans to get help no matter where they’re located. 

The second form of VR therapy involves exposure therapy in a safe, secure environment — they know they can disconnect from the simulation and/or remove the VR helmet at any time. And because of the relatively low fidelity of even the most up-to-date simulation, that extra layer of the unreal creates a safe buffer between a sufferer and their fears. 

The idea is that by exposing them to their fears — fire, agoraphobia, combat, explosions — in minuscule amounts, through a digital lens, the patient can build up a tolerance over time. These methods of proved effective time and time again — consider this study of veterans of the Iraq war and the massive drop in their reported PTSD symptoms after the VRET (virtual reality exposure therapy) sessions. 

Questions About Veteran Care Technology

We’ve only just scraped the surface of what new technology can do to help patients everywhere, but especially those veterans in need of immediate and long-term intervention.

If you want to learn how to implement these methods and more at your healthcare facility, contact an expert at Cybernet today.