Author: Max Thomas 6/30/2020

Smart technology is not only entertainment. It can also be a powerful tool for improving the health of veterans. With the help of VA healthcare providers, more and more veterans are using consumer devices like Apple Watches to monitor their own health.

Kimberly Braswell, a nurse practitioner at the cardiology department of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, saw intelligent technology as an opportunity to connect with patients and improve their care plans.

Braswell helps treat atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular and often fast heart rate that can increase a person’s risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.

Braswell recalled the excitement of veterans when they learned about the ability of devices to measure and record health data. These data include heart rate and level of physical activity. She also noticed a big trend in patient behavior too.

“Veterans using a shift want to take care of their health. As a healthcare provider, this is the hardest part for us to perform with patients. I wanted to connect to this technology and make it work for us in VA. ”

The number of veterans experiencing watches has grown from four to 25.

Today's Apple watches can perform an electrocardiogram (ECG). This is a non-invasive test that measures the electrical signals of the heart to detect heart rhythm disturbances.

In the summer of 2019, Braswell identified four veterans for testing watches operating AFib patients. When the watch discovered that the veteran had a heart rhythm disorder, Braswell taught them how to manage their symptoms and when to seek additional treatment.

In 2020, the pilot program expanded with a new name: Veterans (involving veterans through electronic resources and studying notifications). The pilot will include 25 veterans who recently underwent AFib suppression.

Postoperative patients use their VA-issued watches to detect if there is a relapse in AFib. They will also meet on a monthly basis with their care teams through VA Video Connect, an application that allows veterans to meet with their providers through secure video calling. They will look at the data collected from their watch and discuss any symptoms that they have.

“One of the greatest strengths of mobile technology is that it allows patients to feel involved and control their healthcare,” Braswell said.

The pilot project also includes other telemedicine methods. Veterans are taught how to send their ECG results to their provider through secure messaging on My HealtheVet. After receiving such information, the provider enters it into the medical records of veterans. In addition, veterans receive automatic text notifications through the Annie Veterans App.

“We also include the Annie app to promote a healthier lifestyle and reduce risk factors for AFib,” said Braswell. “Automatic reminders of activity, sleep, nutrition, blood pressure are all we use the Annie app to engage veterans in their healthcare so they can see a correlation in how these things affect their overall health.”

Unforeseen, but equally important pilot success is the relationship that veterans establish with other veterans. Robert Chrysel is one of the first four patients in the pilot. Now he is training other veteran participants to use his watch to record his medical data.

Chrysel is pictured at the top of this story, in the far right corner, helping fellow veterans set their watches.

Braswell recalls Kraisel meeting with fellow veteran Navy Walter Zastrow.

“They both immediately tied themselves to a common service. They were able to communicate on the same level, being respectful and attentive to each other. It really was one of the most useful parts for me - to watch how veterans interact with other veterans. ”

Braswell continued: “The power of this small device is quite impressive, and I think we are just starting to connect to it. The more data providers have access to them, the better they can understand the needs of their patients and develop an individual plan that matches their lifestyle. 


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Best Apple Watch Series 4 Tips to Conquer

Author: Carl Smith 12/19/2018

Apple Watch Series 4 is the recently released version of the Apple’s Watch lineup. You can use it to place calls, ask for help in emergencies, or conduct an ECG to find out if something is wrong with your heartbeat pattern.

Apart from having all the advanced health features, Apple Watch is loaded with a number of applications. Let’s go through some of the best features of Apple Watch Series 4 and tips you should conquer.

Install updates

When you unbox your smart wrist wear, you need to pair it with your compatible iOS device. You need to make sure that the watch is updated to the most recent watchOS version so that you can use the latest functions. Updating Apple Watch is not complicated; it can be done within minutes.

Icons and applications: Do you want to find out what the tiny icons that twinkle on the Watch screen represent? When some applications are open or running, you will see a tiny app icon towards the upper part of the screen.

Adjust Notifications

Notifications are one of the best Watch features. You can find out how to tweak this feature and customize it according to your preference. Getting a lot of notifications at certain times may overwhelm you. Imagine you are in a meeting and your Watch keeps pinging and vibrating to notify you regarding every like and comment you get in your Instagram post. You can control Notifications very easily.


The Apple Watch is waterproof. You can go swimming with your recent released watch models. However, you need to understand the prerequisites, especially when you plan to dive in salt water.



Fitness is of utmost importance. Apple Watch is capable of automatically detecting selected exercises, keep track of yoga exercises, and save workout music from the user’s preferred music streaming platform in the device itself.

Heart Monitoring Feature

The Apple Watch continuously tracks your heart rate while you wear it throughout the day. There’s a dedicated app to monitoring your heart rate or conducting an on-demand reading. Read this to learn how to get the most out of the Apple Watch heart rate features.

Enable the ECG app

An electrocardiogram refers to a test that contains a record of the duration and energy of the electric signals that constitute heartbeats. With ECG, information regarding the heart rhythm is known. Apple Watch can be used to record the pulse and rhythm.

Fall Detection

Apple Watch comes with its own fall detection functionality that identifies when the user falls, and if there is no movement for some time, the watch alerts the emergency services on the user’s behalf. Fall detection is quite a useful feature which could be life-saving especially for older or ill people who live alone.

Walkie Talkie

Do you want to relive the middle school summer camp days? Well, you can use the Apple Watch’s Walkie Talkie app. It is pretty easy to use. Just elevate your wrist, long press the Walkie Talkie option, say what you want to say, and release. You need to know that the authorized users in your list can begin speaking to you anytime. Therefore, if you do not wish to get messages when you are at a formal dinner, just set the availability to unavailable.

Robert Coleman is a Microsoft Office expert and has been working in the technical industry since 2002. As a technical expert, Robert has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as


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