The COVID-19 Pandemic introduced new challenges to the system, including the numerous long-term impacts on individuals who have contracted it, such as clinical outcomes in cardiology, pulmonology, endocrinology, and mental health. In response to these new challenges, VHA Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) launched a digital health initiative called Project Resilience, under the leadership of Mr. Joshua Patterson, Director, Care & Transformational Initiatives (C&TI) and in collaboration with Fitbit to offer eligible Veterans, caregivers, and VHA clinical staff a program to help manage their health and wellness during the challenges presented by COVID-19 and beyond. 


VHA has contracted with Fitbit to provide 10,000 eligible Veterans, caregivers, and VHA clinical staff a one-year free membership to Fitbit Premium, providing them with access to Fitbit’s programs and services to help them manage stress, improve sleep, and increase physical activity. VHA IE is working with Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and community-based organizations to explore how wearables and other digital health technologies can help Veterans and VHA health care teams meet their health care needs.


As a form of telehealth services, these technologies offer data-driven software to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. The resulting data can show how remote monitoring supports transforming widespread population health into personalized medicine for every Veteran. This foundational effort is designed to foster a national model for smartphone-based health care by triaging the Veteran population with digital biomarkers and risk predictions to support clinical assessments and follow-ups.


Project Resilience will benefit 10,000 Veterans, caregivers, and VA who are initially enrolled, but as this project expands, it could impact 350,000 Veterans nationwide who are already using biosensors. Biosensors provide continuous physiological data for heart rate, respiration, activity, and more tied to contextual, labeled data on smartphones. This data can also help inform projects aimed at delivering personalized medicine for every Veteran. The clinical workstreams developed will enable earlier symptom detection based on physiological trends, optimizing care plans and office visits, and a move toward better outcomes based on the evidence generated. 


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Director, Care & Transformational Initiatives,
Department of Veterans Affairs