November 10, 2017
Healthcare that goes beyond the clinic walls
By: Shawn Roman

The VA’s mission has always been to care for the men and women who are America’s veterans, striving to provide meaningful assistance. Historically, that has led to advances in medical science and surgical and prosthetic technologies. Now, this effort has also expanded to include advances in patient experience and services.

The VA is creating innovative new ways to extend care beyond clinic walls, taking a human-centered approach to integrated care delivery. Private-sector partnerships and programs like Community Care widen the reach of in-person care. Telehealth enables veterans to receive care from specialists who aren’t in their clinic, or even in their region. And the Annie application helps promote self-care through a simple technology that most of us use every day: secure text messaging.

Named after Annie Fox, the first woman to receive the Purple Heart, the app is a great example of VA innovation making a direct impact on patients’ lives. Patients work with their providers to set up automated prompts that are customized to their needs, such as educational messages and appointment, refill and self-care reminders.

By leveraging a technology that is already widely adopted, Annie removes technological barriers. It also alleviates the burden of remembering important actions that have a proven impact on health outcomes. The result is that veterans are still closely aligned with their physician’s direction while having more control over their own care.

Where and how veterans receive care is likely to keep evolving to meet the VA’s critical mission in new ways. Personally, it has been rewarding to help bring our organizational strengths to bear to help the VA deliver their mission. We’ve made a commitment to hiring veterans. We have deep experience partnering with veteran service organizations and others aligned around that mission. And we have the experience integrating organizations, workforces and technologies to make an impact. Putting all this together is what ultimately allows us to deliver not just a product or a platform, but meaningful outcomes to the VA—improving veterans’ health and the quality of service provided to them. 

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