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Health Services Research & Development

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2023 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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5011 — This Partnership Made Me Feel Like I Have Value Left in Me Still: A Veteran’s Experience Developing a Diabetes Texting Program

Lead/Presenter: Michael Beck
All Authors: Peoples-Robinson K (Jesse Brown Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Chicago), Shell P (Malcom Randall Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville), Am L (Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Bedford) Gardner JM (Jesse Brown Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Chicago), Robinson SA (Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Bedford), Uphold CR (Malcom Randall Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville), Brown G (Jesse Brown Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Chicago), Vargas-Correa J (Jesse Brown Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Chicago), Orejuela M (Malcom Randall Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville), & Shimada SL (Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Bedford)

Objectives:
Our project goal was to develop a customizable text messaging program using the VA Annie texting system for self-management support. We wanted it to be a program that that helps all Veterans struggling with diabetes deal with and manage it better.

Methods:
Texting systems can inform, educate and encourage Veterans to take charge of their diabetes care. Our goal was to use Annie to develop a customizable, interactive texting program that other Veterans living with diabetes would find helpful and supportive for their diabetes self-management.

Results:
For the past two years, I served as a Veteran consultant on the research team. During weekly meetings I shared personal stories about my diabetes and health management and encouraged the team to pick my mind about how to help other Veterans. I contributed expertise as a former Air Force medic who worked with multiple services and understands how to relate to many types of Veterans. I participated in mock enrollment calls and interviews to help the team improve their process before recruiting participants. I did a test run of Annie and gave the team feedback on messages. We spent most of our time creating and refining text messages in terms of the content and language. I gave the team feedback on how the messages affected me mentally and helped the team improve the wording. These messages were then sent to other Veterans on a survey so that they could give the team more feedback. I also wrote new message suggestions for the team and helped screen and edit message suggestions other Veterans made through their surveys and interviews.

Implications:
We have created a customizable texting program with hundreds of messages, including many written by Vets for Vets. As a disabled Vet and amputee who struggles with mobility and multiple health conditions, this partnership made me feel like I have value left in me still. I tend to push myself to do the most I possibly can and I feel more fulfilled and satisfied that I can continue to serve society and fellow Veterans meaningfully.

Impacts:
This collaboration is important because as a disabled Vet it’s important for me to focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t do: It’s empowering because I want to live the best I can and keep myself alive as best I can. This text messaging program is going to help me do it. I will continue to work with the team as we learn more about how well it works in the trial.