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Butler VA Develops New Program to Help Veterans with Lower Back Pain

PRESS RELEASE

January 13, 2020

Butler , PA — The Butler VA Health Care System developed and is now piloting a protocol in the Annie Mobile Application (Annie) to assist Veterans struggling with lower back pain.

The Butler VA Health Care System developed and is now piloting a protocol in the Annie Mobile Application (Annie) to assist Veterans struggling with lower back pain. After being tested at the Butler VA, the goal is to introduce the protocol nationwide.

Annie is a Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging capability that promotes self-care for Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Veterans and their VA clinicians work together to establish a personalized care plan. Then, Annie helps Veterans stick to that plan by sending them reminders to track their own health data and engage in the prescribed health activities needed to meet their health goals.

“Our goal for creating a lower back pain protocol with the national Annie development team grew out of a need we saw in physical therapy for Veterans struggling with low back pain,” said Sean Karr, Physical Therapist at the Butler VA. “If we can help the Veteran increase physical therapy compliance, we are one step closer to helping them achieve positive results.”

Butler VA’s Physical Therapy Department utilizes system protocols to send automated messages on a specific schedule to enrolled Veterans. Annie protocols prompt Veterans to engage in exercises to assist with their established treatment program.

“I like the morning reminders to do my exercises. It keeps me focused on my recovery,” said Retired U.S. Navy Veteran James Goodman, one of the Veterans enrolled in the pilot program. “With work and my busy family schedule, the app only takes a second and you’re reminded about your physical therapy. I must admit the app works for me.”

“We are pleased to be a part of the initial testing of this new Annie protocol and it is our hope that it will remind and inspire Veterans with lower back pain to do their exercises,” added Karr.

Veterans interested in learning more about Annie can talk to their health care team at the Butler VA or visit https://mobile.va.gov/app/annie-app-veterans.

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Media contacts

Paula McCarl, Public Affairs Officer

878-271-6492

Paula.McCarl@va.gov

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