To stay organized and keep track of his health, Army veteran Gabriel Villegas uses a third-party mobile app that has been reviewed and approved by the VA. These applications connect directly to VA.gov profile and grant the user access to the virtual device’s personal data, such as medical or service records. They are called “third party” because the VA does not create these services. And you never have to use them.
Villegas recently shared his experience with OneRecord, an application that, among other features, allows users to create a summary medical record of their complete medical history.
This app is one of the many ways veterans can access their VA data, as well as medical and service records. This is not the only option. Sharing this user story is provided as information to other veterans and does not constitute endorsement of the application by VA.
Thinking about the apps you typically use the most, what features or functions do you find most valuable? How does OneRecord compare?
In terms of expectations, everything in the application should be simple and navigation should be intuitive and clear. More importantly, the app should help you get what you need and bring you back to life. With OneRecord, this is very convenient. You can use Face ID to log in and connect directly to the VA. The toolbar is intuitive and makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, allowing you to navigate to the desired entry.
Was the app useful in everyday life? Are there real benefits?
What caught my attention about OneRecord is that it allows you to upload files and collect records in one place. It brings back memories of my time in the military, when my wife and I moved seven times in seven years. With every move, there is a process of visiting a health center or health care provider, getting hard copies of the medical records, putting them in my file, and taking them to the next location or city I moved to. Then you need to find a new doctor and hand over the documents to him. Sometimes they don’t need hard copies, and sometimes the previous supplier doesn’t want to spend hours faxing over 400 sheets of records. It could just be a nightmare.
The app allows me to upload my own files and serves as an electronic filing cabinet. I can use it to connect to my medical records, I can turn on health insurance, manage claims, and manage insurance records. It’s like a one-stop shop for health insurance and it adds value because everything is right at your fingertips.
What to do after you find a new provider or doctor? Is the application useful from now on?
I have many times when I have been to the doctor, and a week later or even later in the day my wife asks for an appointment, and 60 percent of what we discussed, I have already forgotten. And there is important information I need from these visits! Whether it’s a prescription, a drug application, some kind of instructions or something else, OneRecord gives me a better understanding of this information.
What would you say to your fellow veterans or military colleagues about these third party apps?
I would say these apps can serve as a tool that gives you more control over your life in relation to your health and puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to understanding your health. If you need better control or are in a situation where you need better health, this is another tool to help you get there.
What other features would you like to see in these apps? What else is missing that you think could benefit veterans?
I will say that there has never been a time when more resources were available to veterans than there are now, be it finance, technology, health, leisure, whatever. I see an opportunity to provide more resources to veterans as they transition from the military to the private sector or civilian life. It would be great to use resources that could help veterans find jobs that they can relate to that will bring them satisfaction and joy, while at the same time contributing to the economy and the overall well-being of the country.
Gabriel Villegas served as an Army intelligence officer with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, and posted for a year in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He currently works as a Marketing Consultant for Lighthouse API Outreach for VA.
Find out more about everyone VA Approved Connected Apps and the benefits they offer. You can also check Mobile Apps Developed Directly by VAincluding the official VA Health and Benefits mobile app, as well as apps for COVID and mental health support, PTSD support, smoking and alcohol cessation assistance, insomnia relief, complete medical skills and tips to improve your health, and VA Video Connect to connect to telemedicine appointments.