Top Trends at VA Hospitals in 2020 and 2021
As a truly momentous 2020 draws to a close, we spoke recently with Bitscopic’s Director of Sales and Business Development, Bill Maher, to get his perspective on the high-level trends he sees as he talks to numerous VA hospitals across the country. This is the first in a series of short interviews with Bill, who has over two decades of rich experience in the Healthcare space.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? What led you to join Bitscopic and serve the VA hospitals with medical information technology?
I’ve been working in the Healthcare space for over 20 years, starting out helping hospitals prevent the spread of blood-borne pathogens and mitigating the painful side effects of chemotherapy. More recently, I was working with health systems implementing EMRs as well as developing programs to diagnose and treat hypertension through remote monitoring. The potential to leverage technology for improved health outcomes is nearly infinite. The Bitscopic suite of solutions is leading the transformation to more data and analysis driven care decisions.
For the past few months, you have been speaking to many VA hospitals across the US. What are some of the most noticeable trends you are seeing among the different hospitals and VA hospital networks you are talking to?
I’ve seen significant effort aimed at cross functional cooperation and alignment within the hospitals and VISNs. Increased adoption of tele-health and remote monitoring at the VA as well as the entire US healthcare system has made it easier and more convenient for providers and patients to manage chronic conditions, the main driver of healthcare spend. The integration of technology inside the VA hospitals is astounding and there’s an increased focus on mental health and pain management services.
Having worked with various hospitals for many years, how have you seen the COVID-19 crisis impact the VA hospitals you have been talking to? What kinds of priorities do you think are different this year compared to previous years?
COVID-19 is dominating every conversation. Staff are scrambling every day to deal with the complexity as the number of cases and acuity both increase. Technology can help here for sure, but finding the time to implement today is a big struggle. That said, I think most clinicians and health care executives are seeing first hand how better information technology could help them recognize and react to pandemic-like situations as well as everyday challenges they face.
What are your thoughts for 2021 and the years beyond? What are some of the key initiatives that could really help the VA hospitals and other hospitals as we work to move out of the COVID-19 crisis and be prepared for what may lie ahead?
I think we’ll see 2021 and 2022 as transition years, with health systems nationwide incorporating the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic into their normal operations. Areas like supply chain, staffing, pharmacy, infection prevention and many more will take a look at how we reacted, and use the data and intelligence to craft better systems for the future. We can dive into the data and find ways to be more efficient in the delivery of care and develop better treatment protocols, but there’s a human element too. By giving the clinicians better information, they can make better care decisions for their patients.