Transformational Tech is Happening in Government—the VA is Leading the Way

Driven by healthcare industry trends and a transition to value-based care, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is undergoing a technological transformation. These changes are spurred on by federal mandates to modernize old systems and a new EHRM program.

Given its investment in innovation, new interoperability platforms, and sound policies for enhancing the continuum of care, the agency continues to be on the forefront of healthcare delivery and digital health care.

Improving population health efforts + medical digitalization

In addition to leveraging telehealth as a response to COVID-19 through its Office of Connected Care, the VA continues to embrace value-based care, ensuring that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is becoming an enterprise-wide High Reliability Organization (HRO).

How is this being achieved?

  • Managing and improving population health efforts through its Centers of Excellence.
  • Leveraging new Artificial Intelligence and analytic tools.
  • A Whole Health approach that empowers veterans to take ownership in improving their own health. Alternative modalities of care are being provided to assist with chronic disease management, smoking cessation, mental wellness, addiction and pain.

A Push toward IT standardization and modernization

A core driver for achieving these efforts is through IT and data standardization. With over 150 medical centers and 1,200+ care sites, the VA is getting better at leveraging collaborative research, large-scale analytics, and the sharing of sophisticated tools and technologies.

Triggered by the adoption of supportive healthcare policy, evidenced-based research, and digital health care, VA legacy systems are modernizing. Along with standardization efforts and innovative research, it’s leading to better care for Veterans—and serves to bolster the agency’s mission.

Veterans are seeking on-demand care and an optimal digital experience. Driven by this mandate, the agency has succeeded in the telehealth arena, with patient-facing, cultural and innovation shifts to meet the modern care needs of today’s Vets.

The role of identity access and management

Innovative identity and access management (IAM) strategies can play a major role in overcoming IT modernization challenges for agencies like the VA.

For example, in its attempt to reach patients outside of a care facility, federal health agencies have struggled with the adoption of online portals. Barriers to use include lack of trust, poor user experience, and portal overload.

To gain patient adoption and value from portals, organizations must provide a secure, friction-less, user-friendly experience. The right identity solutions can create a modern onboarding experience, without extensive time or resources from their IT teams. Unifying web, mobile, and omni-channel experiences decreases friction and enhances the user experience for patients.

Health data interoperability (access to appropriate information for organizations and patients, while ensuring security and data privacy) continues to be a challenge for federal health agencies. A well-designed IAM solution can improve the experiences of health partners and patients—without security gaps.

Finally, IT complexities and security requirements, paired with the employee user experience, can create challenges. Comprehensive IAM solutions help to provide secure access to appropriate apps for internal employees. These solutions also tackle employee lifecycle management through automatic onboarding and offboarding, as well as the changing of roles.

As it continues to be at the forefront of leveraging innovations, the VA stands as a clear case study. By enhancing the overall quality and timeliness of care for Veterans, the agency is showing other federal health agencies how to achieve mission success.

To learn more about the VA’s innovative IT strategies, check out our first Fed Health Identity podcast interview with Dr. Himanhu Singh, Director of Medical Informatics at DSS, Inc., and Michael Giroux, Federal Healthcare Sales Manager at Okta. With an 18-year career at the VA, Dr. Singh previously served in COO and Associate Director roles at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and in West Palm Beach VA.

Interested in engagement data around healthcare under the COVID-19 pandemic? Refer to our study in Businesses @ Work (from Home): The Healthcare Edition.