Reforms, restructuring at Veterans Affairs announced (US)

A new Secretary, but the same old process? New Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald is quickly finding out that cleaning house at a government agency is not quite as straightforward as at Procter & Gamble, where he had been CEO. Since being confirmed by the Senate in late July, he has had to fight the fires of multiple scandals, beginning with the Phoenix VA ‘secret’ veterans care wait list leading to uncovering disastrous delays in care at VA regions across the nation. As of this week, and convincingly timed around Veterans Day, McDonald announced a reorganization of the VA to the Washington Post–a restructuring of the VA around the creation of:

  • A new customer service organization across the entire VA, headed by a “chief customer service officer” reporting to McDonald
  • A standardized regional framework meant to streamline partnering and coordination
  • Realignment of internal business processes into a shared services models to improve efficiency, reduce cost and increase productivity
  • Collaboration with partners to create a national network of Community Veteran Advisory Councils

Heads are rolling, but slowly. There are pending disciplinary actions affecting at least 35 employees and perhaps as many as 1,000 employees upcoming. (more…)

12 percent of US veterans now using VA telehealth services

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has some good news (for a change)–that during the just-closed Federal FY 2014, 690,000 veterans, or 12 percent, used telehealth services. This was a 13.3 percent increase over FY 2013 (608,900). While this report is preliminary (beware!), we see a slowing of growth in the number of veterans accessing telehealth and a concentration–not dispersal–of telehealth services in rural areas (+ 10 points). This chart compares the numbers:

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/VA-2014-vs-2013.jpg” thumb_width=”350″ /]

Chart: EIC Donna. Please note that percentage of telehealth users add up to over 100 percent due to usage (one patient could access two or three forms of telehealth. FY14 telehealth user breakout is estimate based on FY13 percentage, to be eventually compared to official figures.)

Telehealth as defined by VA: (more…)

Integrated care – how can technology help? Royal Society of Medicine 24 & 25 November

This year the Royal Society of Medicine’s Telemedicine & eHealth Section’s conference, on 24th & 25th November, is on how technology can support integrated care.

The conference will be opened by Cathy Hassell, Deputy Director, Quality Programmes, NHS England, who manages the NHS Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) programme

Other keynote speakers include:

Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information, NHS

Dr Robert Wah, President, American Medical Association

Adam Darkins, Chief Consultant in Care Coordination Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, US

There is a superb line-up of speakers to inform you about the many aspects of using technology to support the effective and efficient delivery of care services. These range from practical integrated care implementations such as that underway in Bradford (presented by Cath Doman) and Airedale (presented by Anne Wagner), through the use of innovative technology such as (more…)