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 Shulkin is the Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration