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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital

 

Be Involved in Your Health Care: The Health Buddy System

Health Buddy unit displaying, “How do you feel today?”

Each Veteran participating in the Health Buddy Program receives this unit. The Health Buddy guides Veterans through a series of simple questions and steps to obtain needed health information.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

With the start of a new year, many people make resolutions.  Perhaps they want to eat better foods, curb tobacco use or maybe just to take better care of themselves in general.  For those who made similar resolutions this year, the VA's Health Buddy program may be for you!  The Health Buddy Program began in 2005.  It has given many Veterans a new tool to help them stay involved in their health care.  Veterans with chronic illness, such as diabetes, can use this tool to take a more proactive approach to healthy living.

How does it work?

  1. The program itself is simple.  Veterans must first receive a referral from their primary care provider.
  2. Veterans in the program are provided a Health Buddy unit.  They also receive a few additional items such as a blood pressure cuff and a blood sugar monitor.
  3. Veterans use these items from the comfort of their own home.  For example, they may periodically measure their own blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The Health Buddy then sends the information back to Truman VA.  When received, it is monitored by our Registered Nurses. 
  4. The nurses review the data on a daily basis. If they notice any negative trends, they contact the Veteran or the Veteran's primary care physician to discuss solutions.

Who uses it?

The Health Buddy program is proven to reduce hospital visits and has helped numerous Veterans live healthier lives.  Last year, more than 1,000 Veterans from the Missouri/Kansas area participated in the program. One Veteran, John Whitenmeyer, describes how he uses his Health Buddy.  "I know what my blood pressure is running and I know what my blood sugar is running," John says.  "I had it for a while and I got rid of it, but I got it back.  I was forgetting to do my reading and to do my shots."  John found the Health Buddy was useful to monitor vital health information.  It also served as a regular reminder to take medications.  For Veterans with chronic health conditions, this can be a great tool.  Veterans who are interested in the Health Buddy Program should ask their primary care provider for details. 

Brought to you by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program

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