Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed a Department of Veterans Affairs health reform bill in response to scandals in patient care at VA centers. The $16.3-billion bill,signed by President Barack Obama, includes measures that will attempt to overhaul information technology and introduce telemedicine procedures at VA clinics and hospitals.
But who’s going to implement these reforms? Infield Health President Doug Naegele talked with G2Xchange Health Cofounders David Blackburn and Eric Klos to understand how the bill might create new opportunities for health entrepreneurs.
Can you talk for a minute about how some of the bill’s provisions make room for entrepreneurs?
This bill has a number of specific information technology mandates for the VA that are ripe for innovation. Many of the mandates are a direct response to excessive wait times, the need for information sharing when our veterans access care outside the VA, and the gaming that was done by VA staff to hide wait time issues at VA facilities. Three examples of opportunity areas for entrepreneurs include:
1) Digital Waiting List – You may have seen billboards on the highway that show the Emergency Room wait time at a local hospital. This is an example of the type of transparency that would permit veterans to monitor the average wait times by facility and type of care.
2) The VA has 90 days to establish a system to monitor and issue Veterans a “Veterans Choice Card,” which will facilitate the receipt of care from non-VA health providers.
3) Data for patient safety, quality of care and outcomes must be extrapolated from the existing VA electronic health records (VistA) and published as a comprehensive database within 180 days. This data must be “fed”’ into the HHS Hospital Compare website. Again, transparency is a key driver for the VA.