iEX 2021: Discovering the future of healthcare after the pandemic


The face of healthcare has been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in care thanks to the unique nature of the past 18 months have led to medical innovations that are changing what veterans and the public expect from their care. During the second Innovative experience in veterans health administration (iEX) Virtual Series Event, Shaping a Healthier Future: Post-Pandemic Care, VA healthcare innovators and leaders from the innovation community came together to explain how these changes will impact care in the future.

The hour-long panel discussion took place on September 15 and brought together Brynn Cole, government manager of the Reimagining Veterans Healthcare Human-Centered Design (HCD) project for VHA Innovation Ecosystem, having an in-depth discussion with John Sinher, Executive Director of Blue Spoon Consulting; Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, head of clinical policy and strategy at Verily and Google Health; John W. Boerstler, chief of veterans experience, VA; and Saurabha Bhatnagar, MD, health manager at Commure. The discussion took a close look at how the HAV is tackling the pandemic – its impact on the lives of Americans, the evolution of health care, the current state of American health, and the way forward for care. .

“It’s a little difficult, right now, even to think about post-pandemic care,” Cole said as he opened the event, acknowledging that citizens are still feeling the impacts of COVID-19 right now. However, the panel’s discussion of how care has changed and will change was important.

VHA was strategically placed for the pandemic, having previously been at the forefront of models of care like telehealth, remote monitoring, and other innovative healthcare practices that have enabled the larger healthcare network of the country to pivot care quickly at the onset of COVID-19. During the pandemic, it was VA’s innovation and collaboration that helped rapidly develop 3D printed personal protective equipment, provide easy communication and reliable, to ensure veterans at risk can still get meals, and to provide new tools to fight the pandemic.

“One thing we had to do immediately was go into the virtual world,” Boester said. “VA pivoted incredibly well in March 2020, moving most of the workforce outside of the clinical realm to the virtual world, but also ensuring that we can offer telehealth appointments. And you’ve seen a record number of telehealth appointments.

It’s the kind of rapid change that will determine the future of not only VA care, but healthcare across the country as well. VA is ready to lead the way, as it has with telehealth options. As the orthodoxies of health care continue to evolve, people are certain to see a refined model of care focused on health, not disease.

“[The pandemic] reaffirmed how far we need to go in the healthcare ecosystem in the United States to truly move towards preventative care, ”Singer said. “I think VA is really in a good position to lead this for a lot of reasons… A lot of people forget that it’s not just the backbone of health care delivery, but research and education. So there are so many different aspects of how VA can do this, and I’ve seen those things change over the past year or so.

The iEX 2021 Virtual Series is open to anyone and presents an exciting way to learn about healthcare innovations and VA employees that will impact lives. Sign up today for instant access to a recording of this event, the Breaking Boundaries: Collaboration Challenge, and be sure to attend the third upcoming event, Breaking Boundaries: Using Innovation to Advance Health Equity, and the Marquee event live. Don’t miss another moment in this exciting virtual series! Once enrolled, people will not only be enrolled in all iEX 2021 programs, but will also have access to the iEX virtual events platform where they can connect with other veterans, innovators and industry leaders as soon as possible. now !

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