A vital part of the MyVA transformation involves the adoption of best practices from not only the private and non-profit sectors, but also successful strategies already in practice within the VA.
“At the improvement forum, we bring together executive leadership and front line staff that are doing improvement work at facilities to showcase the work that has been done and to allow it to spread,” said Ashley Benedict, the VISN-8 systems redesign coordinator.
The Orlando VA Medical Center was chosen to host the fifth annual VA Sunshine Healthcare Network’s (VISN-8) improvement forum not only because it’s centrally located, but also to show off the newly opened 1.2 million square-foot facility.
VISN-8 is the nation’s largest system of hospitals and clinics serving a population of more than 1.6 million Veterans spread across Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Dr. Carolyn Clancy, VA’s chief medical officer, encourages employees to share their lessons learned with the rest of VA.
Employee teams from across the network present their system redesign ideas using lean-six sigma methodology and the VISN collectively votes for the redesign deemed to have the most impact.
“This is one of the greatest avenues of engaging employees and giving them an outlet to implement system change,” said VISN-8 Acting Director Thomas Wisnieski. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to share what we do, and shamelessly steal the best ideas to implement at our facilities.”
This year’s overall VISN-8 lean-six sigma project winner redesigned the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System to eliminate a 2,000-patient sleep study backlog in just over a year. Now, the overall cycle time from initial consult to treatment has been reduced from more than two years to 90 days.
Dr. Clancy, VA’s chief medical officer, emphasized to not only share best practices, but also lessons learned from mistakes.
“Because we are an integrated system we have the ability to spread best practices, but also know when we drop the ball,” she said.
Many of the new and future system redesigns will begin in this way – from a VA employee who wants to improve the Veteran experience.