HealthcarePapers 5(4) May 2005 : 26-29.doi:10.12927/hcpap..17383

The VA Advantage: The Gold Standard in Clinical Informatics

Matthew W. Morgan


How does a healthcare organization undergo such transformation as described in the lead paper in eight short years? Just imagine being part of an organization that achieved the following transformations:
  • reduction in hospital and long-term-care beds from 92,000 to 53,000 and an increase in outpatient clinics from 200 to 850
  • a 75% increase in the number of patients treated on an annual basis (from 2.8 million to 4.9 million) with only a 32% cumulative increase in budget (from $19 billion to $25 billion)
  • clinicians who have access to complete medical records for almost all patient visits and all care settings
  • clinicians who willingly enter medication orders 94% of the time
  • patients who are increasingly satisfied with their care, ranking the service consistently higher than the competition
  • improved patient outcomes, achieved at costs 25% less than the competition

Such transformation is impossible to achieve without vision, leadership, talent, teamwork and tools. I will restrict my comments to a discussion of the tools, specifically the VA's clinical information system (VistA, HealtheVet, My HealtheVet. However, it is important to note that the results described in this paper would not be possible without the VA's transformational leadership and dedicated teams of professionals capable of executing the vision.



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