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Butler VA Pilots Annie Text Messages to Assist Veterans with Lower Back Pain

Annie App graphic.

The Butler VA Health Care System in Pennsylvania is testing Annie messages to help Veterans who are struggling with lower back pain.

Annie is VA's automated text message reminder service designed to help Veterans follow their VA care plan and better manage their health. Different types of Annie messages are available that can prompt Veterans to track health readings, take prescriptions, or engage in a wide range of health activities. Butler's Physical Therapy Department is using Annie to remind Veterans to do their at-home physical therapy exercises.

"Our goal for creating a lower back pain [Annie] protocol ... grew out of a need we saw in physical therapy for Veterans struggling with lower back pain," said Sean Karr, a 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."

Retired U.S. Navy Veteran James Goodman, one of the Veterans enrolled in the pilot program, said the morning text reminders keep him focused on recovery. "With work and my busy family schedule, the app only takes a second and you're reminded about your physical therapy."

Read the Butler VA's press release about this new Annie pilot.