The project has been funded by a grant from Center for Technology and Aging, a nonprofit organization. In its project, the Veterans Administration of Central California Health Care System will target older veterans with chronic heart failure (CHF) who reside in remote rural or other medically underserved areas in central California.

Health Buddy System allows physicians to customize the program content for specific patient conditions. For the medication optimization project, the VHA will add an emphasis on medication use. If the central California project is successful, the VHA plans to continue the service and replicate it in other areas across the country.

VHA said that another feature that distinguishes Health Buddy System from other remote telemonitoring systems is its robust content that incorporates disease education to increase patients’ understanding of their conditions and encourages them to take greater responsibility for self-management of their health.

Unlike the ‘canned’ programming of other telemonitoring systems, the Health Buddy System utilizes a response system that decides what questions to ask next based on how the patient answers the current question, so the sessions feel interactive and engaging.

David Lindeman, director of Center for Technology and Aging, said: “Medication optimization solutions that reduce the cost and burden of illness among older adults are urgently needed. Our goal with the diffusion grants is to spur greater access to proven technologies that can lead to safer, more effective medication use among older adults.”