VHA Diffusion of Excellence begins spreading 10 new practices

Newest Diffusion Fellows begin journey to change and save Veteran lives


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With more than 100,000 Veteran lives impacted and 10 programs rolling out nationwide, Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem’s (VHA IE’s) Diffusion of Excellence (Diffusion) continues to bring promising practices developed by frontline employees to Veterans across the country.

These efforts are not just changing and saving Veteran lives but revolutionizing how health care operates throughout the VA health care system and the country at large. With 10 practices entering the Diffusion of Excellence portfolio this year, joining 59 previous efforts, even more Veterans’ lives will be impacted.

Last October at the VHA Innovation Experience, 10 VHA Shark Tank Finalists became VHA Diffusion of Excellence Fellows (Diffusion Fellows) after their promising practices received winning bids from VA Medical Center and Veteran Integrated Service Network Director sharks throughout the U.S. These new Diffusion Fellows will partner with Implementing Facility Fellows (IFFs) at each Implementing Facility to begin the process of spreading their work beyond their originating facility’s walls.

Learn more about these practices below:

Virtual Integrated Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) Hub
Diffusion Fellow: Kevin Kelly
Originating Facility: Philadelphia VA Medical Center
Implementing Facility:
Orlando VA Medical Center,Asheville VA Medical Center

This fully virtual program is deployed through a hub-and-spoke model to remote facilities struggling with Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) implementation and provides rural Veterans equitable standards of behavioral health care.

Increasing access to clinical research using an innovative Mobile Recruitment Approach: The (MoRe) Concept
Diffusion Fellow: Marcus Johnson
Originating Facility: Durham VA Medical Center
Implementing Facility: VA Boston Healthcare System

MoRe units use digital technology to deploy research teams to meet Veterans in areas of their preference and convenience to expand Veteran access to clinical research and enhance enrollment into VA-sponsored studies.

Voluntary Service Curbside Delivery (VSCD)
Diffusion Fellow: Sue Kerver
Originating Facility: Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Implementing Facility: Phoenix VA Health Care System

This practice recruits VHA volunteers and community partners to utilize DAV vans to transport food pantry items, hygiene items, household cleaning items, and other essential supplies to vulnerable Veteran patients unable to leave their homes.

Drive-thru vaccination clinic
Diffusion Fellow: Kelli Crews
Originating Facility: North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
Implementing Facility:

This practice allows Veterans and VA employees to receive a flu vaccine at their convenience without getting out of their vehicle, reducing the probability of patients or providers coming into contact with transmissible diseases.

Beta Lactam Allergy Assessments: Saving lives one assessment at a time
Diffusion Fellow: Jarred Bowden
Originating Facility: Memphis VA Medical Center
Implementing Facility: Washington DC VA Medical Center

This practice established a BL skin testing clinic with a pharmacist-driven BL allergy assessment to minimize adverse patient outcomes associated with BL allergies after observing BL allergy patients receiving inappropriate antibiotics 50% of the time.

Telelactation Program (TLP)
Diffusion Fellow: Cody Giovannetti
Originating Facility: Memphis VA Medical Center
Implementing Facility: Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System

The Telehealth Lactation Clinic uses telemedicine solutions to virtually provide women Veterans with the support, education, and tools necessary to successfully breastfeed.

Remote Temperature Monitoring in Amputation Prevention through Telehealth
Diffusion Fellow: Kyle Nordrum
Originating Facility: Cincinnati VA Medical Center
Implementing Facility: Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System

This practice uses remote temperature monitoring technology to identify diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) in their earliest stages, allowing health care personnel to take action through multiple telehealth modalities to prevent severe complications that lead to amputation and the high mortality rates that follow.

Environmental Management Service (EMS) CLEAN Covers
Diffusion Fellow: Robert Bankston
Originating Facility: VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System
Implementing Facility: VA Sunshine Healthcare Network, VA Great Lakes Health Care System

EMS “CLEAN” Covers are plastic covers applied over cleaned and sterilized furniture, equipment, etc. to provide an added layer of protection against contaminants/germs and provide a visual indication to staff, families and patients that the equipment is clean.

Centralized Lung Cancer Screening Program
Diffusion Fellow: Christopher Slatore
Originating Facility: VA Portland Health Care System
Implementing Facility: VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System – University Drive Campus

The Centralized Lung Cancer Screening Program provides highly inclusive, Veteran-centric care that minimizes the burden on primary care providers by increasing Veterans’ access to life-saving annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan screenings to detect early-stage lung cancer.

Embedding physical therapy in PACT
Diffusion Fellow: Amanda Simone
Originating Facility: VA Midwest Health Care Network
Implementing Facility: Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

This practice embeds physical therapists within primary care clinics to provide Veterans with timely access to physical therapy services, reduce costs, and improve Veteran and staff experience.

The next step for these practices and the Diffusion Fellows is the Diffusion of Excellence Base Camp taking place virtually Feb. 9-11, where Diffusion Fellows will work closely with IFFs to kick off their work in implementing these life-changing practices in new facilities. The IFF will champion the implementation of the practices at their facility, working with the Diffusion Fellows and the Diffusion Team to successfully adapt and replicate their project over six to 12 months.

Follow VHA IE on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on their progress.

Author

Matthew Razak

Matthew Razak supports VA as a contractor with Atlas Research, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm providing strategic advisory and applied research services to federal health and social service agencies. Matt has been working with VA for the past six years supporting social media and communication efforts.