For 20-plus years, I never had to go to work. I got up and simply got dressed. There was my country’s flag on my shoulder, my team (U.S. Army) on one side of my chest and my family name on the other. Beneath that I had dog tags engraved with my faith. When appropriate, I had the additional honor wearing the white lab coat of my secondary profession of service—physician. When you wake up every morning and put that cloak of armor on, you’re not getting ready for work. You’re getting ready to serve. That’s what was so beautiful about the privilege of being in the service. It’s just that—it’s service first. It’s for others. Both the military and healthcare requires a level of personal accountability where excellence is the only option.
When I was on active duty, I worked for our service members, veterans and their families. I have now transitioned from active duty to my role at Accenture Federal Services, but I still work for those same people.
I used to tell doctors that we were training, “The definition of good medical care is excellence. And excellence is what you expect for your mother, your father, your wife, your kids.”
I’m proud to continue this mission every day in my work, helping the VA and DoD deliver excellence. I’m able to help the VA pioneer programs that combine new and existing technologies to give veterans more and better ways to access care.
The technology that enables Telehealth is one part of the puzzle. But Telehealth is more than using technology to deliver incrementally better healthcare. It’s about support and access. It’s about providing a service that patients nationwide are demanding. It’s about the larger virtual engagement of veterans for transformative outcomes. It’s about changing mindsets, so that Telehealth/virtual support becomes as mainstream as going to see the doctor and where the office based provider-patient visit is no longer the primary currency or metric of healthcare activity.
At its heart, it’s about serving the veteran first. Not simply with better processes or best practices but providing new processes that are the right practice. I’m proud to serve the most important people: our service members, veterans and their families. And I work to deliver excellence every day as a grateful American and Veteran.