The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (DoD) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) coach mobile application marked its first anniversary with receipt of an award for innovation in the advancement of telemedicine from the American Telemedicine Association.
"The health and well-being of our brave men and women who have served this Nation is our highest priority," said Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. "Using the popularity of mobile devices, we can provide important tools to Veterans wherever they are, whenever they need them, whether or not they receive care through VA or DoD."
PTSD coach, collaboratively developed by VA's National Center for PTSD and DoD's National Center for Telehealth & Technology, provides education, symptoms-tracking tools, self-assessment and connections to support individuals with PTSD. Since its public release on April 11, 2011, the app has been downloaded more than 53,000 times in over 60 countries. It is available for free download for both iPhone and Android devices.
"We are energized to build innovative products that extend the reach of VA and DoD services to those who need them most," said Julia Hoffman, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and mobile applications lead at VA's National Center for PTSD. Dr. Hoffman accepted the award alongside DoD collaborator Robert Ciulla, Ph.D.
The application is one of many in a series of jointly designed resources by VA and DoD to help Servicemembers and Veterans manage and cope with readjustment challenges.
The ATA Innovation Award is presented for ideas that "save and improve countless lives, whether their patients are young children, Soldiers on the battlefield, returning Veterans or the average American health care consumer," said ATA President Bernard Harris, Jr., MD, MBA.
In the last three years, VA has devoted more people, programs, and resources toward mental health services to serve the growing number of Veterans seeking mental health care from VA. The department is a pioneer in mental health research, high-quality, evidence-based treatment and access to care. Through the use of Vet Centers, the National Center for PTSD, the Veterans Crisis Line, or integration of mental health into the primary care setting, VA has many entry points. Since 2007, VA has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of Veterans receiving mental health services, and a 41 percent increase in mental health staff.
For more information on the PTSD Coach app, visit the VA's National Center for PTSD Website: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/PTSDCoach.asp.
For more information on apps from DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology: http://t2health.org/apps