VA Black Hills Health Care System
Henderson, who was medically discharged during Operation Iraqi Freedom, is now a Connected Health Coordinator at South Dakota’s VA Black Hills Health Care System, near Mount Rushmore National Memorial. He works one-on-one with patients every day to show them how to access their VA medical records and connect with specialists on My HealtheVet.
“My HealtheVet is truly a life changer for all of our Veterans, because it enables so much access to your health care,” Henderson said. “Veterans ask me about their health records; they ask me about the ways that they can refill their prescriptions; they ask me about scheduling. Iit’s amazing how the platform has evolved to allow Veterans to literally have their health care in their hands."
Celebrating 15 Years of My HealtheVet With a Special Guest
In November 2018, to kick off the Black Hills celebration of My HealtheVet’s 15th anniversary, Henderson welcomed American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad for a multi-day tour of the Black Hills facility.
“Commander Reistad was extremely impressed with the strides that we‘ve taken for our Veterans,” said Henderson. “He loved the idea that Veterans are able to connect to their providers through My HealtheVet’s Secure Messaging feature.”
The tour also included a live demonstration of VA Video Connect, a virtual appointment app used by Veterans in conjunction with My HealtheVet. “We’re in rural America,” Henderson noted, “and sometimes we face weather adversity. Some of our Veterans live three, four hours away. But with technologies like My HealtheVet and VA Video Connect, we can increase and improve our Veterans’ access to care.”
My HealtheVet … With a Personal Connection
In speaking about My HealtheVet, Henderson also reflected on its connection to his personal journey.
“I’ve come a long way since I first heard about My HealtheVet in my TAPS program,” Henderson said, recalling his first encounter with the platform during his transition out of the military. “One of the first things they told me was, ‘Okay, use your tag card to go register for My HealtheVet.’ And I had no idea what they meant.”
Since then Henderson’s connection with My HealtheVet has both deepened and taken a professional turn. When he first began working at VA as a Medical Support Assistant in the VA Black Hills Health Care System, it was in support of My HealtheVet. More recently, after earning a master’s degree in health care administration, Henderson became the program’s champion as the Connected Health Coordinator. “So it all came full circle,” he said, noting also that he is still — “obviously” — a My HealtheVet user.
“I’m a firm believer in empathy,” Henderson added. “As an actual user of the platform, I try to put myself in the shoes of my Veteran to better assess their situation.”
Moving Forward From 15
“We’re letting Veterans know that My HealtheVet has grown strong in the past 15 years,” said Henderson, “and we plan to go as long as Veterans need us!”
In addition to a facility tour, the Black Hills celebration of My HealtheVet’s 15th anniversary included tutorials and app classes on technologies to connect Veterans to health care assistance. After the anniversary, the Black Hills facility plans to continue promoting Veteran use of the various in-person and online modalities.