VHA Innovation leaders on Igniting Innovation to Tackle a Historic Pandemic

Carolyn Clancy, MD, is deputy under secretary for discovery, education and affiliate networks (10X), Veterans Health Administration, and Ryan Vega, MD, is executive director, Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem

“Innovation within the Department of Veterans Affairs is not a new concept. The pacemaker, nicotine patch, bar coding for medication administration, and many other veteran and public lifesaving breakthroughs have origins within the VA. Accelerated operationalizing of employee-driven innovation and private/public innovative partnerships within the VA are also no longer new concepts within the VA due, in part, to the VHA Innovation Ecosystem.”

“Using the vast accumulated experience and immense passion of the employees within America’s largest integrated healthcare system in the country, VHA IE engages employees to design and diffuse innovation. In addition, we also collaborate strategically with the external innovation community to solidify partnerships that save veteran lives and fulfill VA’s Fourth Mission: to improve the nation’s preparedness for response in national emergencies.”

“In 2020, COVID-19 changed all our lives. While much of the world moved to a standstill in March, VHA IE and partners were revving up.”On a (Fourth) Mission with 3D Printing

“In 2017, VA invested initially in 3D printing as part of an employee-focused innovation competition, which supports early-stage ideation. What started as piloting 3D printing for pre-surgical planning in one VA medical center, grew—and rapidly. In three years, we had built a 3D printing infrastructure within 30+ VA facilities across the country and offered our 3D printing engineers and teams the experience and organizational knowledge they needed to be successful. We were ready for a big leap forward. In March 2020, the time came to transform 3D printing to augment supplies of personal protective equipment so VA employees and their families could be protected from exposure to COVID-19. We had the people, processes and technology to deploy 3D printing to meet critical needs in record time, like shields, masks and now, nasal swabs. In short, our ability to move expeditiously is a direct result of investing in people and establishing infrastructure that can be adapted to system priorities…” Read the full article here.

Source: Igniting Innovation to Tackle a Historic Pandemic – By Carolyn Clancy, MD, and Ryan Vega, MD, September 18, 2020. American College of Healthcare Executives.

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