Veterans Health Administration

02/06/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/06/2020 07:40

Innovation Spreads at Diffusion of Excellence Base Camp and VHA Diffusion Academy

Diffusion of Excellence (Diffusion), one of the most successful innovation programs in VA, will kick off its fifth cohort at the 2020 Diffusion of Excellence Base Camp (Base Camp) from Feb. 11-13 at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans. This year, the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) is expanding its impact through the simultaneous launch of the first-ever VHA Diffusion Academy. The two events support innovators from across VHA by providing them with training, resources, and networking opportunities to spread their promising practices to more Veterans, ensuring their work impacts and changes the lives of Veterans every day.

Diffusion in the limelight

With the conclusion of the 2019 VHA Shark Tank Competition, the 12 Gold Status Practices (GSP) begin the journey toward replication at new Implementing Facilities through the Diffusion of Excellence. At Base Camp, both the GSP developers―known as Gold Status Fellows―and their counterparts from other VA Medical Centers (VAMC)―known as Implementing Facility Fellows―come together to customize the GSP for implementation at the new facilities. The knowledge and relationships built during this event serve as the foundation to support the implementation process throughout the year.

At Base Camp, participants collaborate with subject matter experts to develop an implementation plan, an individualized roadmap designed to guide the replication of the practice in the new facility. Because VAMCs vary in size, services offered, and organizational structure, the success of the practice at one facility does not guarantee its success at another. Diffusion facilitates the spread of GSP by proactively identifying and addressing challenges, such as varying levels of leadership support, organizational differences, and funding roadblocks. By developing a roadmap for these challenges prior to implementation, the likelihood of success is increased as the practice spreads.

Since launching in 2015, Diffusion has identified 47 GSPs that have been replicated more than 800 times across almost all VA facilities. This program positively impacts the care and lives of hundreds of thousands of Veterans. With an additional 12 GSPs implementing at 18 new facilities, Diffusion will continue to change and save Veteran lives for years to come.

Welcome to VHA Diffusion Academy

VHA IE is fundamentally changing the Veteran experience, how they receive their care, and the overall quality, value, and impact of that care. However, that change can be even greater, and the innovations developed by VHA IE portfolios can spread even further. That is why the first-ever VHA Diffusion Academy is being held alongside this year's Base Camp.

VHA Diffusion Academy takes mature innovations that are ready to take the next step from across VHA IE's portfolios and helps their creators build the groundwork for sustaining and scaling their practices. Developed specifically for mature practices that have spread to other facilities, VHA Diffusion Academy focuses on promoting team development and cohesion, replication strategies, national stakeholder engagement, strategic communications, and resourcing for practice growth and sustainment. By providing training, education, and networking during this event, practice champions will have the resources and connections to spread their work nationwide.

Moving an innovation from a few facilities to a systemwide standard is a challenge that requires not only different skills, but continued support and connectivity. By addressing knowledge and project management gaps, VHA Diffusion Academy allows innovators, caregivers, and VA employees to continue to diffuse, mature, and/or progress their work independently.

The inaugural VHA Diffusion Academy will feature:

Practice Champions: Matt Crowley and Clare Evenson
Originating Facility: Durham VA Health Care System
Practice Summary: ACDC is a practical and effective method for enhancing access to comprehensive, telehealth-based diabetes care for Veterans struggling to manage their Type 2 diabetes.

Practice Champions: Ed Portillo, Molly Lehmann, and Timothy Hagen
Originating Facility: William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
Practice Summary: COPD Care is an inter-professional transition of care service focused on COPD management during the Veteran's transition from hospital or emergency department to home.

Practice Champions: Rick Rucker and Bruce Patton
Originating Facility: VA Puget Sound Health Care System
Practice Summary: EMS provides Veteran patients with a direct line of communication to EMS staff, allowing them to submit feedback about their hospital experience in real time, leading to an improved patient experience.

Practice Champions: Kimberly Taylor and Sherry Butts
Originating Facility: Martinsburg VA Medical Center
Practice Summary: Inform-A-Vet is a cloud-based text messaging tool used to provide family and friends with real-time texts regarding the progress of the Veteran's surgical procedure, without the need to join a portal or download an app. This strengthens communication between the surgical team and concerned family members/friends and delivers timely updates via text messages during the various phases of surgical care and recovery.

Practice Champions: Tiffany Lange-Altman and Michelle Hilgeman
Originating Facility: Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center
Practice Summary: PRIDE in All Who Served is a 10-week health education group for LGBT Veterans focused on identity development and/or strengthening and reducing related health care disparities. Results have demonstrated reductions in suicidal ideation and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Practice Champions: Natalie Hackbarth and Kriston Moore
Originating Facility: Tomah VA Medical Center
Practice Summary: The RN Stay Interviews practice uses an innovative interview plan format with new nursing staff during their first year on the job to assess satisfaction, identify programmatic improvement opportunities, and ultimately boost retention.

Make sure you follow along to learn more about all these amazing practices at Base Camp and VHA Academy by following VHA Innovation on Twitter and #VHABaseCamp and #VHAAcademy.