Frontline staff from around the department showcased their ideas at VA’s Innovation Demo Day held Monday. These innovators have spent the last several months designing, piloting, testing, and implementing innovative projects designed to improve the Veteran experience. This Innovators Network is being piloted at eight sites across the nation with new “innovation specialists” leading the charge for each facility to develop a culture of innovation. The sites are Portland, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston, Atlanta, Chillicothe, Ohio, and Jackson and Biloxi, Mississippi.
The goal of this event is to give innovators the opportunity to present their ideas and inspire others to consider implementing them at their local facilities. Thirty-two innovators from the network presented to an interactive panel and to an attentive audience at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C.. The projects presented were from both the VA Innovators Network, which helps unleash the potential of VA employees and arm them with the tools they need to solve problems, and the Diffusion of Excellence initiative, which helps spread best practice innovations to scale across the VA.
This event was created by the VA Center for Innovation, Diffusion of Excellence and forward-thinkers within the ranks of VA. The VA Center for Innovation arms VA employees with the tools and resources to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing our Veterans. This innovation ecosystem empowers the staff to innovate and enables consistency of practice by spreading those innovative best practices to medical centers across the VA health care system.
Here are just a few of the innovations featured at Monday’s event:
- Creative Expressions Studio from Boston
The VA Boston Center for Integrated Wellness and Self-Expression is a program that is co-owned by both Veterans and staff. The center provides creative and innovative therapeutic interventions to increase self-esteem, encourage community re-integration, and develop leadership and coping skills among Veteran participants. The center also educates VA staff on holistic wellness for themselves and the Veterans they serve.
- Mind Body Skills from San Francisco
This training program equips staff with the knowledge and skills to improve their health and wellness, reducing staff burnout, improving retention and increasing patient satisfaction. The ultimate goal of the mind-body innovation is to reduce facility turnover rate by 10 percent.
- Red Wheelchair Brake from Jackson, Mississippi
With a slight change in color, Veterans can more easily identify their wheelchair brake, which helps eliminate falls that often result in long-term hospital stays, eliminates additional medical expenses and saves the hospital from lawsuits.
- Code Tray Redesign from Loma Linda, California
This simple and compelling solution was designed to reduce the time it takes to find a certain drug during a code. This easy-to-implement, low-cost strategy reduces medication distribution errors, improving outcomes for Veterans.