VA is the largest health care system in the country with the most vital job there is: taking care of our nation’s Veterans. Because of its sometimes-overwhelming size and breadth of services, VA realizes that the most important moments actually rest in those small and focused one-on-one interactions between Veterans and VA employees. It is these moments that define the direction VA should head, and it is the people involved in them that need to lead us there.
That’s why VA is working from the ground up to innovate, leaning on those employees who interact directly with Veterans. VA’s Innovation Network and the Diffusion of Excellence initiative help employees implement and spread innovations that make a difference to Veterans. These efforts will once again culminate, as innovators from throughout VA are traveling to Washington D.C., Aug. 8-11 for the VA Innovation Demo Day and Diffusion of Excellence Summit where they will share their innovative practices that are helping Veterans receiver faster, better, and more reliable care.
Throughout the day on Aug. 8, Veterans, their families, key stakeholders, and the public will see presentations from more than 90 VA innovators as Demo Day takes place. Each innovator will present their practice in a lightning round to panels of VA and health care experts who will give them advice on how to best implement and expand their work to further improve the care of the Veterans they know and serve. These innovations include a self-leveling walker, community housing fairs, family and couple services, Veterans Crisis Line awareness, smartphone cardiac rehab, and many more – all implemented because of the needs of the Veterans innovators work with daily. The result is Veterans receiving better care from the people who care for them. In fact, last year 124,877 Veterans, family members, and caregivers were impacted by VA Innovators Network projects like the ones being presented at Demo Day.
However, after Demo Day the work doesn’t stop. VA is not simply holding a meeting, but actively pushing the agency forward by implementing these innovations. Innovators will return to their facilities and Veterans armed with not only the lessons and information they gained during Demo Day, but also the full support of innovation network. The program develops a cadre of highly trained innovation specialists, and provides them the tools and resources necessary to understand on-the-ground challenges and develop creative solutions. With dedicated staff at 22 sites, VAIN offers an interactive environment for VA employees to test new ideas, and collaborate with stakeholders across the Veteran community to improve the way VA serves Veterans.
If you would like to be a part of the amazing innovations occurring throughout VA, please click here to register to attend VA Innovation Demo Day. We will also be live streaming the presentations throughout the day on the VA Facebook Live page and VHA’s YouTube page.
Following Demo Day, the inspiration and action will continue. For another three days, dedicated and energized employees will meet at the Diffusion of Excellence Summit, where they will lay out action plans to implement proven best practices that make a difference to Veterans. Ten gold status practices have been selected to be implemented at 14 sites throughout VA, and if successful, across the country.
Now in its third iteration, the diffusion initiative finds best practices already implemented locally at different VA medical centers across the country, and through a “Shark Tank”-style bidding system discovers the best ones to implement at other sites across the country. Previous successful practices have brought Veterans and their caregivers closer through life stories, decreased the spread of flu in VA facilities, and tackled the opioid epidemic head on.
From Aug. 9-11 at Georgetown University, our gold status fellows will be working with their implementing sites to develop an action plan for the implementation of the practice over the subsequent six months. Along with the 26 previous gold status projects already implemented in more than 70 VA facilities, the new practices worked on at the Summit will form the foundation for an ever-improving VA. The result is improved care for our Veterans in the areas that most affect them.
All three days we’ll be live streaming the key parts of the event to VA’s Facebook Live page, and we encourage you join us to see how we’re improving the experience of every Veteran who comes to VA for care. You can also follow along on the #VADiffusion hashtag on Twitter or on @VAInnovation.
Working together, moving forward: VA is modernizing. We are changing the way we do business so Veterans choose VA not because they have no other choice, but because we are the best at what we do, achieve superior results and make a difference in the lives of Veterans and their families. For both of these events, VA hopes that members of the community will be inspired to weigh in, think about ways to work together, and maybe even replicate some ideas in your own organizations.