The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) was honored this year for developing and implementing health tech programs and platforms that address the health of veterans. A recipient of the FedHealthIT 2021 IT Innovation Awards for four consecutive years now, these digital and IT solutions are recognized for improving the lives of vets and the customer service experience. The award-winning programs were developed by VA teams working closely with veterans. Dominic Cussatt, who is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, and also Chief Information Officer, says that the ‘solutions created and developed by the VA rival those that are available in the private sector in terms of functionality and design.’
Health Is A Top Concern For Vets
Readjusting to a civilian life is an important concern after the military. Veterans must also secure a place to live upon return. Fortunately, there are several resources available to ex-servicemen and women that can help them find a roof over their heads. For example, a VA loan offers zero down payment, low interest rates, and no mandatory private mortgage insurance, and is specifically designed to be accessible to vets. There are also housing assistance grants available for those with a disability connected to their service, as well as other home loan benefits.
Health is also a major concern for returning veterans, who may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides health care to ex-military men and women, but the problem of accessibility and the quality of services are not the same across the country. Therefore, there are many veterans who might not receive any treatment or follow-up care for PTSD, depression, or substance abuse. In addition, lots of veterans are unaware that such health care benefits are available, and if they do, they don’t know how to apply for them or are unsure of their eligibility. Other barriers to getting good care include the physical inaccessibility of medical facilities and fear of discrimination.
Top-Grade Digital Solutions
As such, the VA developed first-rated digital schemes to address and improve veteran healthcare. One of these digital solutions is the eICU (Telecritical Program), which is a central monitoring facility that can take care of 50-500 remote ICU beds, and offers access to specialists. Meanwhile, the joint medical logistics enterprise between the Defense Health Agency and the VA Logistics Redesign (VALOR) enhance resource management and patient care, including electronic health records.
Another digital innovation is the Pharmacogenomic Testing for Veterans (PHASER) where pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing through genes identifies how patients respond to certain drugs, thereby helping doctors decide the best medication for them. Results are stored electronically and available to all providers. The VA also uses artificial intelligence to assist veterans in accessing benefits faste,r while the robotic process automation helps resolve incidents and improves customer service. To boost the quality of veteran healthcare, the modernization of the electronic health records allows clinicians access to the full medical history of a patient in one location, while the VA Community Care Referral and Authorization (CCRA) expedites patient referrals and authorizations for veterans.
The department continues to modernize its services using technology innovations. The VA’s solutions, which are up to par with those offered by the private sector in functionality and design, offer veterans greater access to health benefits and the services that they have earned.