VA Leveraging Tech Innovation in Clinics

As part of a larger plan to create the next generation of healthcare services, one official at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is leveraging advanced technology innovations to tackle clinical problems and improve veterans’ healthcare.

David Arreola, deputy director of operations for the VA’s National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation (NCCHI), is using advanced technology to optimize healthcare processes, the agency wrote in a recent article. His processes have not only improved quality, reliability, and access to care for veterans, but set a national precedent of what healthcare of the future looks like.

“Our goal from the beginning was to try to create the health care system of the future. My work with NCCHI and our director, Dr. Thomas Osborne, has really painted a much clearer picture of the potential of new technology and how it would affect the health care system,” Arreola said.

Arreola has played a pivotal role in many projects coming out of NCCHI in support of veterans, the VA wrote. For example, when the COVID pandemic sent workers home, large parts of VA care changed overnight.

There was a desperate need to organize workers and a system that placed workers in areas of the hospital where they were needed most. This system also needed to be sensitive to the different specialties of each worker and place them accordingly.

One solution that Arreola and his team developed was Issio Workforce Optimization and Float Pool, the VA wrote. Issio is an advanced scheduling platform that identifies employees and allows them to be floated to other facilities.

The deputy director worked with IT to fast track this program, achieved an authority to operate within three months, with an authorized app through the VA Office of Information and Technology.

Since its development, the VA wrote, Issio has been used for acute care and nursing. It has expanded to include more hospital wards, including anesthesia, medicine, and ER – with the intention to spread to more sites soon.

The VA also highlighted Verizon Medivis – a system that is part of Arreola and NCCHI’s Project Convergence, which is bringing augmented reality to clinical training, procedural guidance, and presurgical planning.

“I think the future looks very bright for health care overall. It’s extremely exciting to see the potential not just what currently exists but what potentially will exist within the next five years,” Arreola said.

Arreola’s work at NCCHI has laid the foundation for even more advancements to follow, the agency wrote, such as deploying the first full spectrum 5G hospital, a 5G-enabled drone program, holographic surgical planning, and more.