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Innovation summit highlights ideas to improve patient experience, care

Navy Rear Adm. David Lane shared his thoughts and questions with innovators after each presentation during the National Capital Region’s one-day innovation summit Feb. 27. Navy Rear Adm. David Lane shared his thoughts and questions with innovators after each presentation during the National Capital Region’s one-day innovation summit Feb. 27.

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Greater use of iPads, smart phones, and cutting-edge software are just some of the ways the Military Health System could soon be improving access, safety, and quality of care for its 9.4 million beneficiaries. Eight health care experts presented their ideas to the Defense Health Agency’s National Capital Region market board during a one-day innovation summit, with the hopes of putting their concepts to the test in the near future.

The market board, made up of experts from across NCR’s medical directorate, pursues a mission to “comprehensively provide high-quality, high-value health care that is responsive and respectful of our beneficiaries' needs and choices.” The summit was held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, as the third stage in NCR’s “innovation journey.”

During the concluding session, Rear Adm. David A. Lane, director of the NCR Medical Directorate, encouraged market board members and caregivers to challenge innovators.

Rear Adm. David Lane, standing with the innovators, called all the proposals ‘great ideas.’ The experts presented their ideas for various projects to NCR’s market board during the one-day innovation summit Feb. 27. Rear Adm. David Lane, standing with the innovators, called all the proposals ‘great ideas.’ The experts presented their ideas for various projects to NCR’s market board during the one-day innovation summit Feb. 27.

“This fun and exciting phase won’t work without all of you being engaged,” said Lane. After experts concluded their presentations, board members asked questions before voting on whether a project should continue to the pilot stage.

“The idea is how can we reach these facilities and take those good ideas and give them a place to flourish and launch,” said Justin Sweetman, chief analytics officer for the NCR medical directorate.

A proposal presented by Rader and McNair clinics advocated for the use of text messaging as a way of increasing cervical cancer screenings. The use of texts, a method already employed by various businesses, can improve the way clinics share information while making screening reminders and appointment scheduling easier for patients. If successful, this pilot could lead to the use of text messages for other health issues and beneficiary services.

In another proposal, experts from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center internal medicine department and the Uniformed Services University advocated for a way to help patients in the twilight of their lives.
The pilot aims to help patients document their Advanced Care Plans during a primary care appointment. If an individual’s outpatient record includes an ACP, a provider can confirm that the patient’s decisions are up-to-date. Otherwise, an educational video about choices can be provided to patients, along with a link to complete their ACP. This allows an opportunity to ask questions and explore options with providers, social workers, or chaplains during the appointment.

Other experts from WRNMMC pitched an idea to improve patient safety awareness for staff, patients, and other visitors. Monitors in key locations would display real-time data of WRNMMC’s performance on safety measures and highlight improvements. The monitors would also display useful information patients could act on to improve their own outcomes.

The patient relations department at Fort Belvoir presented a proposal to assist patients with language barriers by leveraging technology and services available on iPads. The department currently offers translation services by phone and in person, both of which are costly. With an iPad ready to go, the experts demonstrated how hospital staff could select a language through the application and connect to a translation expert.

“These teams have worked really hard, and they’ve done a lot of great work to put these proposals together,” said Navy Lt. Michelle Lane, executive assistant to the NCR medical director.

NCR board members voted for all proposals to proceed to the next stage of the innovation journey, the pilot phase. The innovations will be tested at NCR military treatment facilities after securing support and funding. In a few months, innovators will present the results and lessons learned from the pilots to NCR leadership to wrap up the cycle.

“There’s more change going on right now in the Military Health System than at any time in my entire career,” said Rear Admiral Lane. “They’re all great ideas.”

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