Happy Memorial Day Weekend: VA Happenings in Healthcare

We are observing Memorial Day here in the states today. Throughout the long weekend there will be parades, services, celebrations and all sorts of events to remember those who died in service to our nation. We all know too well that it is not always easy to be a surviving vet and receive the help and services needed to thrive in our society. In honor of Memorial Day and our living vets, this week’s Friday Five takes a look at some of the good that is happening as it pertains to innovations, technology and healthcare.

‘Shark Tank’-style competition aims to help solve problems in the VA
The Department of Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs) is looking to its employees for new ideas to combat its oldest and biggest challenges, and it will screen potential solutions in a competition similar to the ABC reality show “Shark Tank.” The VA received 356 applications this year from its employees, all with ideas on how to work on VA Secretary David Shulkin’s five priorities: offering veterans better health care options, improving efficiency, modernizing the health care system, suicide prevention and streamlining veterans’ access to care. On June 13, 20 finalists will present their ideas in Washington, D.C., to the “sharks,” a panel of VA leaders from across the country.

DOE and VA Team Up to Improve Healthcare for Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Energy are partnering to drive technology innovation and transform health care delivery for Veterans. The partnership brings together VA’s unparalleled and vast array of healthcare and genomic data with DOE’s world class high performance computing, artificial intelligence and data analytics. By combining expertise, the organizations can push the frontiers of data analytics, next-generation computing, precision health, genomic sciences, and health care delivery.

VA testing mobile app to allow Veterans to schedule their own health care appointments
VA recently implemented a mobile Veterans appointment request application at 99 sites across the country to further modernize its systems and give Veterans more scheduling choices. “VA is making critical improvements to Veteran health care, and will always look to leverage innovative tools that will put more capabilities in the hands of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Self-scheduling apps are widely used in the private sector and will help create a better experience for Veterans and their medical-care providers.”

Military veterans suffering PTSD get back on course with golf
Since 2014 the Professional Golfers’ Association (@PGAcom), along with The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has brought the game of golf to veterans. The goal of the program, Helping Our Patriots Everywhere (HOPE), is to help veterans assimilate back into their communities through the social interaction, mental stimulation and physical exercise that golf provides. It is free to military veterans and fully funded by the PGA’s charitable foundation.

Veterans Conquer Depression with Equine Therapy
There are a variety of services and therapies available to veterans who suffer from depression and post traumatic stress disorder. One such treatment, Equine therapy, is offered at a place called Windhaven Therapeutic Riding near Vancouver, Wash. It was established back in January, after two years of preparation, for the sole purpose of providing equine therapy to Veterans.

ICYMI – Our other Friday Fives.

This article was originally published on HealthcareNOWRadio.