U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran Paul Baros was an anti-submarine air crewman tasked with detecting and classifying enemy nuclear submarines. He served from 1969-1973, spending some of that time on the U.S. Ticonderoga. Baros now resides at VA Butler’s Community Living Center (CLC), but he makes frequent visits to the My HealtheVet program office—most recently, to learn all about My HealtheVet’s Veterans Health Library (VHL).
The VHL offers Veterans, family members, and caregivers 24/7 access to comprehensive, Veteran-focused health information. The Library includes over 1,500 health sheets, over 150 videos, go-to-guides, and flipbooks that have been approved by VA experts, and include topics specific to Veterans, for example, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), combat-related Traumatic Brain Injury, Agent Orange and cold injuries. All health information is available to Veterans, their family and the public, no matter where the Veteran receives care.
Baros is a long-time My HealtheVet user, using it primarily (at first) to refill his VA prescriptions. After he moved into the CLC though, he purchased a laptop and a tablet, and saved the My HealtheVet website as a favorite on his electronic devices to enjoy its many features. He uses My HealtheVet frequently on his own, but also regularly visits VA Butler’s My HealtheVet Coordinator Lauren Heiger to continually learn more.
The VHL Quick Link, located on the My HealtheVet webpage, makes it easy to access, and Baros was amazed at VHL’s features – especially the Health Encyclopedia, with A-to-Z health subjects and one-touch accessibility. The one-touch accessibility is especially helpful for Baros, who has lived with chronic, debilitating tremors for years as a result of prolonged use of psychiatric medications. He has participated in medical trials and medication adjustments to ease the effects of his Pseudo Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism. His current medication has successfully reduced his hand and arm tremors and prescription adjustments in the past have reduced severe tremors in his jaw and arms.
With the touch of his stylus to his touch screen, Baros was able to choose a single letter of the alphabet to explore the Veterans Health Library’s Health Encyclopedia rather than typing in a search word with his stylus or finger. The one-letter touch produced an alphabetic list of health topics for him to easily choose from and click on. “It has everything! Knowing this is here,” Baros said, “I can search various topics and consult with my doctor.”
The Health Encyclopedia search provided Baros with medication side effects, treatment options and a ‘Learn More’ section to the right of the screen that features the links: ‘Health Education’ and ‘Medication Reference’ to refine the results of his search. Once Baros touched the ‘Medication Reference’ link, it drilled the data even further. The ‘Drug Search’ link lists the letters of the alphabet – and with a pull down menu, every medication becomes available in alphabetical order – at the touch of the alphabet button. As Baros explained the facets of his condition to Lauren Heiger aloud, he would also touch the screen on the topic and confirm his knowledge base – with diagrams, definitions, additional links and resources.
“Knowing that the Veterans Health Library is on the My HealtheVet home page, I am able to search various topics and learn new things,” Baros said. “And the VHL’s A-to-Z Health Encyclopedia saves me from having to use my stylus to type each letter of a search word! Now I can touch a single letter and select from the list of health topics that appear in alphabetical order at the touch of an alphabetical letter on the screen. This is such a help for me with my hand tremors, to be able to select the letter of the search word – rather than spelling it out.”
The VHL provides the ultimate in accessibility for Paul – with a full spectrum of reliable health information that has been reviewed by VA clinical experts. The VHL ensures accessibility in many ways and is easy to use for Veterans with mental or physical disabilities.
Check out the Veterans Health Library today— www.veteranshealthylibrary.org.
About the author: This article was submitted by VA Butler Healthcare.