Designing a Blueprint for Excellence to Improve Veterans' Well-Being

April 2015
Topics: Health Services Administration, Veterans Affairs, Public Health (General)
MITRE conducted an in-depth study in collaboration with the Veterans Health Administration that will contribute to improving the health, satisfaction, and well-being of veterans, while also making services more cost effective.
Man receiving flu shot from a nurse.

While the demographics of our veterans continue to shift, one factor is all too common. From the youngest to the oldest veterans enrolled with the Veterans Health Administration, a large number suffer from complex physical and emotional trauma.

The traditional "diseased-based" healthcare model can be demanding for these veterans. For many post-9/11 veterans who live far away in rural or underserved areas, it's particularly challenging to access regular care.

Improving Quality of Care

The VA Health Care Modernization Study supported by MITRE resulted in nine recommendations for creating a system that more efficiently delivers better access and better outcomes. As well as studying existing veteran interviews, MITRE's six-person team collaborated with more than 55 experts, including physicians, nurses, medical directors, chief financial officers, executive directors for health affairs, and senior VHA leaders, to develop specific recommendations.

The resulting VA Healthcare Modernization Report includes steps for achieving efficiencies, such as standardized physical healthcare delivery structures and best practices for procuring equipment and pharmaceuticals as well as leveraging prime vendor contracts. And to improve quality of care, the VHA is considering a variety of options such as personalized health plans and specific programs tailored to veterans who are at most risk of hospitalization.

Improving Access to Care

To improve access to care for veterans living in rural areas, the VHA may offer local care through non-VHA providers. The VHA is also exploring the use of virtual technologies for home use, such as remote monitoring and video teleconferencing.

MITRE and the VHA completed the study in spring 2014. MITRE also helped incorporate many of the study recommendations and findings into the VHA's Blueprint for Excellence, which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, published and provided on the VHA website.

—by Bill Eidson


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