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Title:VA and Fitbit help support Veterans' health and wellness during COVID-19 pandemic

Author:VAntagePoint Contributor

Date:February 2021

Source:U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2021, Reprinted with permission

Volume:Volume 3 Issue 172

The Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) has launched a new initiative with Fitbit to help Veterans, caregivers and VA staff manage their health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative, launched at healthsolutions, is focused on eligible Veterans, caregivers and VA staff who currently use Fitbit devices, and will provide them with free access to Fitbit's paid programs and services to help them manage stress, improve sleep and increase physical activity.

VA has contracted with Fitbit to initially provide 10,000 eligible Veterans, caregivers and VA staff a 1-year free membership to Fitbit Premium. This includes access to guided programs, hundreds of workouts, mindfulness content, a wellness report and a health metrics dashboard. Participants will also have access to Fitbit Health Coaching, one-on-one coaching and guidance from a certified health coach or licensed health professional. VA encourages Veterans, caregivers and VA staff using Fitbit wearables to express their interest in participating in this opportunity by January 25, 2021.

Eligibility will be based on various factors such as whether an individual is a Veteran, already a Fitbit user and their location. Additionally, some Veterans who currently receive VA healthcare may be eligible to receive a Fitbit Sense, Fitbit's most advanced health smartwatch.

VA's goal is to build a Veteran community using innovative wearable technology focused on improving health and wellness. VA is working with Veteran Service Organizations and community-based organizations to explore how wearables (and other digital health technologies) can help Veterans and VA health care teams meet their health care needs.

"We see the potential of digital health to increase access and transform how we care for Veterans based on technologies like smartphones and mobile apps already being widely used," said Joshua Patterson, director of Care and Transformational Initiatives, VHA IE. "This initiative aims to advance how our support becomes more personal when we better understand the day-to-day challenges facing every Veteran, their caregivers and VA staff, and especially now."

Interested Veterans, caregivers and VA staff who currently use Fitbit devices are encouraged to express their interest in participating at healthsolutions.

Allison Amrhein is the director of operations for the VHA Innovators Network and communications lead for the VHA Innovation Ecosystem.

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