Patient Care Access News

VA Launches Center for Patient-Centered Healthcare Innovation

The Center for Compassionate Care is currently accepting proposals for patient-centered healthcare innovations and treatment options.

The VA has established the Center for Compassionate Care to drive patient-centered healthcare innovation.

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- The VA has launched its Center for Compassionate Innovation (CCI) to help produce and deliver patient-centered healthcare innovations and treatment options to veterans.

The CCI will explore cutting-edge medical therapies and emerging workflow practices through small pilot tests throughout the VA healthcare network.

These healthcare innovations will primarily pertain to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and suicide.

Additionally, the VA will consider exploring any healthcare innovation that is safe, ethical, and focuses on improving veteran health and well-being.

“VA is unique in our approach to healthcare,” VA Secretary David J. Shulkin, MD, said in a statement. “We are committed to offering veterans cutting-edge and innovative care. That means carefully exploring every avenue that will promote well-being.”

CCI will not serve as a research office independent of the VA, nor will it deliver actual clinical care or forge vendor relationships. Instead, CCI will highlight cutting edge therapies and identify which ones may be carried out throughout the other VA offices and agencies. This is all a part of the VA’s strategies for improving patient access to quality healthcare, the agency said.

The VA is currently accepting proposals for innovative projects at the CCI. Interested participants may digitally submit their proposals to the VA, after which the agency says it will use a rigorous algorithm to determine which are safest and most ethically sound for implementation.

This push for better veteran access to innovative, quality healthcare may be a part of the VA’s recent efforts to revamp its image. Amongst appointment scheduling and wait time issues, the agency has been putting forward many strategies to regain the trust of its constituents.

Earlier this week, the VA announced a tool that will help veterans view average wait times and information about patient experiences while booking appointments at various VA medical centers across the country. The tool allows patients to compare different facilities based on the following criteria:

  • How long patients are waiting to be seen in their VA facility
  • How veterans describe their experiences scheduling primary and specialty care
  • Timeliness of appointments for care needed right away
  • Information about the quality of healthcare delivered at every medical center compared to local private sector hospitals

The agency established the tool to improve veteran decision-making with regard to healthcare access. Improving transparency about appointment wait times, patient experience, and other important factors will help patients decide at which facilities they will access critical treatments.

The VA has also been working toward improving overall patient-centric care and patient satisfaction. The agency announced the MyVA program one year ago, which aims to improve patient satisfaction and healthcare access.

Characterized as a cultural overhaul, MyVA has been working to inspire VA employees to improve the patient experience across the healthcare spectrum.

“MyVA is our framework for modernizing our culture, processes, and capabilities – combining functions, simplifying operations, providing Veterans a world-class, customer-focused, Veteran-centered enterprise,” then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald said to VA’s Commission on Care.

“I know transformational change is not easy but it is our commitment to the Veterans we serve in order to bring them the customer service and the care and benefits they have earned.”

Despite those efforts, the VA still struggles with long appointment wait times and patient healthcare access issues.

These steps contribute to an overall effort to mitigate those issues, VA officials assert, and to regain the trust of the veterans the agency serves.


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