Recently I attended a meeting at the VA where they demonstrated the new Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) mobile application (app) that will be used for scheduling appointments at VA medical clinics. Until this meeting I had no idea the VA had mobile apps, and that there were so many! Some of the apps are still in development, including the VAR App, but there are already helpful apps available on the VA App Store.
The VAR App is expected to be released at the end of 2016, and will allow patients to directly schedule and cancel appointments with their primary care or mental health provider. Additionally, you can request assistance through the app for scheduling appointments with nurses and other clinics within the VA. The VA is continuing to improve their apps, but I found the features that are currently available to be helpful and convenient.
One of the apps that I found very helpful is the Annie App, which is currently in the testing phase and will be available soon. The app is named after Annie G. Fox, who was a nurse in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. She was the first woman to receive the Purple Heart for her service at Hickam Field during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Annie App is a text messaging service which will send you automated messages and reminders from your local VA facility that are personalized to your needs. It will be especially helpful in tracking your health, not missing any appointments, and scheduling follow ups in a timely manner when you need them.
I believe the VA is committed to providing many mobile apps to veterans in order to better assist us, but it appears many veterans may be unaware that these apps exist. I hope this information will be helpful to inform my fellow vets of the apps that are already available through the VA App Store. I’ve included a summary of the currently available apps below, but be sure to visit the VA App Store regularly to gain access to new apps and resources created specifically for veterans and their health care professionals.
VA Mobile Apps Currently Available:
ACT Coach: The ACT Coach App helps you work with a mental health care professional during Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
CBT-I Coach: The CBT-I Coach App helps you get the most out of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) so that you can develop good sleep habits and sleep better.
Concussion Coach: The Concussion Coach App provides you with the resources to help you manage symptoms of concussion or mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.
CPT Coach: The CPT Coach App helps you work with your therapist during Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
Mindfulness Coach: The Mindfulness Coach provides you with tools and guided exercise to help you practice mindfulness, which means paying attention to the present moment without passing judgment on it.
Moving Forward: With the Moving Forward App, you can access on-the-go tools and learn problem solving skills to overcome obstacles and deal with stress.
PE Coach: The PE Coach App helps you work with a mental health professional during Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, which is used to reduce symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD Coach: The PTSD Coach App was designed for service members and veterans who have, or pay have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by providing them readily available tools to manage PTSD-related symptoms and stress.
Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry: The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry is an online database of health information provided by OEF/OIF/OND or 1990-1991 Gulf War Veterans and Service members and collected through a questionnaire about exposures to airborne hazards.
Ask a Pharmacist: This app enables you to easily access information about VA pharmacies and medications.
MOVE! Coach: This app is a weight self-management tool that provides education, tools, and guidance designed to help you meet your weight and health goals.
Parenting 2Go: The Parenting 2Go App is designed to provide convenient tools to help you strengthen your parenting skills and reconnect with your children.
Stay Quit Coach: The Stay Quit Coach App helps you “stay quit” after you stop smoking with tools to control cravings, reminder messages, and support links.
For more information or to access these apps, visit the VA App Store: mobile.va.gov/appstore