VA Caribbean Healthcare System
Connecting Veterans with the world
February 16, 2017
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – In order to keep up with technology and providing Veterans with innovative services, the Veterans Affairs Caribbean Healthcare System (VACHS) officially offers free Wi-Fi access to Veterans and visitors around the San Juan VA Medical Center. This new addition to the services offers free access in the main hospital areas of the facility, in which reception was not previously available.
During a Wi-Fi kick-off ceremony celebrated at the VACHS on Feb. 15, Veterans and family members, Veterans Organizations and government officials, the audience had the opportunity to have the experience to connecting their mobile devices wirelessly to the newly installed service.
According to Mr. Manuel Negrón, VACHS chief information officer, this initiative places the VACHS among the first VA hospitals in VISN 8 to offer free Wi-Fi services to its guests.
The investment made to get the system up and running was close to $800K; an initiative that does not only benefited the Veterans, but also local businesses and economy by creating more than 10 indirect jobs according to Negrón.
“Our first priority has always been and will continue to be to offer our Veterans the latest technological advances available in the market. We are proud that our project will serve as a model for others to follow at other facilities nationwide,” said Negrón.
Negrón also introduced another service available to Veterans, the opportunity of borrowing tablets for educational and recreational use through the installation’s library at no cost. This service comes useful and valuable for those receiving treatment such as dialysis since this kind of treatment usually takes several hours.
According to the Acting VACHS Director, Dr. Antonio Sanchez, “being connected is not a luxury anymore.”
“Living in today’s fast paced world, we do so many things through our electronic devices that being connected has become a necessity.
As an example to that, we use our electronic devices for things as basic as texting to others more complex as paying our bills or even giving condolences or sending birthday greetings to friends and family,” said Sanchez.
However, “beyond these uses, the system provides our Veterans the opportunity to communicate directly with their primary care teams without having the need to come to the hospital in order to get an answer to a question or doubt,” Sanchez said.
“I have to reaffirm, being connected is not a luxury anymore, it is part of our day to day life and is a necessity,” Sanchez said.
According to Negrón, the system provides connection thanks to the approximately 400 Wi-Fi antennas installed throughout the medical center.