I have the honor to be speaking today at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States in San Antonio.

It’s a great opportunity for me to share some of our recent accomplishments and planned improvements that will mean better health care and access for our Veterans.

For openers, I plan to tell this group of distinguished physicians about “Annie App” which I think our tech savvy generation is going to really appreciate. It’s a text messaging service that promotes self-care through text messages that send appointment reminders and prompts Veterans to track their own health.

Right now, we’re testing it and asking for feedback before we roll it out for all Veterans in the spring of 2016.

Annie App has some great features. When your provider or a member of your VA health care team signs you up for Annie for a health issue, you will receive automated messages that prompt you to track your own health. You are asked to reply to messages so that Annie can let you know how you are doing. Annie also can send you appointment reminders and messages from your local VA medical facility.

You can use Annie if you have a basic cell phone that includes a texting feature. If you have a smartphone, you can use the texting feature of the phone, or use the Annie App for Veterans. You can also use the Annie App for Veterans with a computer or mobile device connected to the Internet. Whichever way you choose, Annie can help you track your health on your own.

I also plan to share with them – and with you in future blogs – some of VA’s other impressive recent accomplishments which include:

  • Home Telehealth technologies, which reduced hospital admissions by 35%.
  • Providing over 12,000 mobile tablets to VA clinicians at more than 40 VA medical facilities. 80 percent of VA care team members say their device saves time in clinical activities.
  • VA Pulse – an official collaboration platform that empowers employees to connect with colleagues and ideas across VA, discover valuable expertise, find key resources and quickly share knowledge.
  • The Consortium for Promising Practices – employees submit promising practices implemented in their facility, network, or collaborative effort with other facilities that have improved Veterans’ access to care, care coordination, or employee morale/engagement.

All of these accomplishments are focused on one goal – you, the Veteran and your health care. I am looking forward to updating this great group of medical professionals so that we may continue our important partnerships that benefit all of the men and women who serve our nation and keep us safe and free. You are our only priority.


Dr. David ShulkinDr. David Shulkin is the Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration

 

 

 

 

Couple making snow angelsReligious exercise and expression in VA facilities
A man wearing a VR visor holds a gaming controller.Miami VA using virtual reality to treat PTSD

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14 Comments

  1. Thomas W. Roberts III December 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I am a Vietnam veteran and have never call on the VA for assistance until September of this year. Upon contacting the VA, I was told they had no record of my being a veteran. They gave me a couple of options to prove my service. One was through the Department of Defense and the other was to send them a copy of my driver’s license and the Form DD214. I choose to pursue both routes and requested a copy of all my military records stored in St. Louis, MO. The request for copies was sent (faxed) on Sept. 11 and NPRC responded stating that it would take them some three to four weeks to process the request. This week the NPRC was contacted for status and a “form” response came back that their estimated completion date was now 02/15/2016. The process began with the VA on Aug. 24, 2015, by completing an online application and by Oct. 7, a “submission ID” was received. Also on Oct. 7, an email was received stating that they had begun processing my application but before the application could be completed, they needed additional information. The email further stated that someone from the Health Eligibility Center would be contacting me for this information. As of this writing, no one has contacted me. I tell this simply to show that the VA has a long way to go to be responsive to veteran’s needs and to offer an empathetic shoulder to all of those veterans who have waited so long for health care.

    All of his makes one wonder where this great nation would be if we veterans had been as responsive to orders and needs on the battle field as this country and the VA are to our needs. It is amazing how the bureaucrats, politicians. and the White House can put on their cloaks of righteous indignation and tell us things are better. It is equally amazing how they can be so fat, dumb, wealthy, happy, and secure at the expense of others. May the Lord bless all veterans who have served. Amen

  2. Anon December 6, 2015 at 10:04 am

    The Annie app sounds great but when am I going to get a decent app for accessing ALL of my VA health data?

    Glad the docs and nurses are finally using modern gear. I didn’t have to look at the back of my doc’s head last time while he typed on a pc. He had an iPad right there and he showed me my info while we spoke.

    Now I want my med info. It’s mine, isn’t it? Why can’t I get to it on my iPhone like I can with my private doc?!?!

  3. EDWARD P SEROW December 5, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    THE VA HEALTH SYSTEM IS BREAKING APART.UNTIL RECENTLY MY MEDICINE DELIVERIES HAVE BEEN RIGHT ON THE MONEY.NOW IT IS LIKE PULLING TEETH TO RECEIVE A NEEDED (IN THIS CASE BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION) BEFORE MY SUPPLY RUNS OUT.I WENT TO THE PHARMACY AND ASKED WHAT’S UP.I WAS INFORMED THAT THE MAIL WAS SLOW IN DELIVERING.BECAUSE I NEED TO TAKE BP MEDICINE EVERY DAY I ASKED FOR A PARTIAL SUPPLY TO GET ME THROUGH UNTIL MY REGULAR SUPPLY CAME THROUGH.THEY AGREED AND ISSUED ME WHAT I BELIEVED TO BE MY MEDICATION.WHEN I GOT HOME AND OPENED THE BAG I FOUND IT TO CONTAIN ANOTHER MEDICATION THAT I HAD PLENTY OF.NOW COMES THE GRAND MESS UP.ANOTHER MEDICATION THAT I WAS LOW ON IS A BETA BLOCKER FOR MY HEART WITCH I AM TO TAKE TWICE A DAY.I was informed that this prescription was not even in the computer yet my so called doctor has had me on this for about two months now.I brought forth my almost empty medicine bottle. NO NEED TO SAY THAT EVERYONE HAD THAT DUMB LOOK ON THEIR FACES.This second screw up is still pending but it requires me to make the trip to the VA hospital to try and teach every one how to read and work properly hoping that a patient(including myself) doesn’t kick off suddenly.Fault being an inept staff.Still needing my blood pressure med.

  4. Coco December 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    We’ve been bent over for so long, don’t believe a word any politician says! Actions speak louder then words! The VA is a joke, us veterans got screwed royally!

  5. Jules Karasi December 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

    If the system is so improved, why does it take over 3 month to get a appointment after the VA makes you wait months before you can make one. When I call the number given to me to make a appointment the person at the other end tells me I have to call the clinic, The clinic tells me the cant make it and I have to call the number in the letter.(SNAFU) Forget the choice program, I called 5 times and never got a call back with a
    doctor in my area who is in the Program.! If I had to wait for the VA to get a Doctor, I would be dead now…I see no improvement it the system

  6. Kenneth Boles Sr December 4, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    I have been taking my wife to the doctors for quite awhile now and as far as I can tell most of them are a bunch of dumb shots passing her around so that everyone gets a piece of the pie. I go to the VA in Augusta and I will take the VA over any of the outsiders any day, they are not perfect but when you think of the number of people that they deal with they do pretty good.

  7. Mark Overlie December 4, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    This sounds like another layer of slick & shiny packaged BS. Every feature mentioned here can be found and used on the VA’s MyHealth site. Where it also manages to stink.

    How about making some changes that are actually needed and appreciated by Vets?

  8. Dorathy A Felberg December 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    This is all talk and nothing will how are 12000 mobile tablets are going to help is computers and phones don’t work a mobile tablet isn’t going to make a difference. It will take better leadership everytime I go to VA the employees are either on break or lunch. I have a compensation appeal pending for 5 plus years and when I got my Congressman involved and VA gives him the run around saying that is the normal and of course they need more personnel to do less work.

  9. Marc LaBrosse December 4, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I am 80 years old and and have been in the VA care system since 2004 first in Massachusetts then here in Venice, Fl since 2008, In the last six months I have experienced the joy of a changed improved health care system, more user friendly and caring. Thank you for what you are doing. God bless you!

  10. Major Edward G. Sotelo December 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    4 Dec 2015

    This morning I had an appointment with (redacted), VA, Mather, CA. (redacted) is totally worthless. First off, first appointment in the morning, and he reeks of booze. He doesn’t even look at you or my wife. Then tells you to set carefully as the “new” buildings (Bd 646) examination chair is broken. Before saying any more, looks back to 2010 to comment, “looks like you haven’t been back to see us on your 60 percent loss of use of left foot”? Reminded him to look at newer dates. (redacted) proceeds to immediately cut-and-past the previous appointment. Never, ever looked at my foot, or make any comment on broken AFO. A totally worthless human being, like most of Mather’s doctors. My wife was blown away of his total lack total lack of professionalism. Articles by paid lackies/bith-boys of the VA mean nothing. Told m wife I need surgery, but won’t happen for at least 6 months. (redacted)is a loser a worthless piece of work!
    Merry Christmas (redacted)
    Maj Edward G. Sotelo, U.S. Army, used up Veteran.

    • Gary Hicks December 7, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Maj Sotelo,
      The full content of your message has been forwarded for review and possible followup.

  11. Dan F. December 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    You know, all this behind the scene BS is going to be like the last set. In theory it is to help us Veterans, in reality, it gives healthcare providers with more tools to distance themselves from those they are supposed to be helping. How is an app really going to help me get in to see a competent doctor in a timely manner? If it is believed that care is improving at VA Facilities, they are in no way even close to driving distance from where I live. Some of the free roaming county clinics provide better care!

  12. Donald M Fritz December 3, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I think this would be a great idea. I can’t wait to start using this app.

  13. DannyG December 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Dr. Shulkin’s efforts are appreciated, at least by this vet. ALL of the honest, hard work is appreciated, by a lot of vets! Someone please listen, & hear what I am saying: Why not implement some changes that America’s Veterans can see & feel. Enough with “behind the scene” changes; show us the changes! Front-line employee training & veteran service training AND accountability would change the opinions of a WHOLE LOT of veterans. Forget what the public sees & thinks – it is called the Department of VETERANS Affairs. I mean no disrespect, &
    am honestly trying to help, from a veteran’s viewpoint.

Comments are closed.

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