With National Suicide Prevention Month officially upon us, now is the ideal time to shed a light on how new efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with regards to technologies and processes can help deal with this challenge.
And the statistics can be very alarming, further pointing to the need for more suicide prevention programs and innovations. For example, U.S suicide rates overall increased 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, with Veterans being at double-risk than the general public overall.
“We know that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died in this country from suicide, which is 20 too many,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin, in this recent VA press release. “This is a national public health crisis requiring a national public health approach. When it comes to preventing Veteran suicide, VA can’t – and should not – do this alone.”
In response to this public health crisis, the VA is launching its “Be There” campaign, as well as hosting a number of local events, offering a suicide prevention toolkit and much more.
Fortunately, from the industry side, there are solutions as well.
For example, the Patient Case Manager (PCM) solution from DSS, Inc. and Iconic Data leverages the power of software, standardized workflows and data visualization tools – enabling care givers to give more time to VA patients and less to manual record keeping.
This solution completely mitigates the tedious efforts to methodically track the compliance and follow-up care of high-risk patients. This is often due to workflow efforts being highly manual, and suicide prevention is not a focus of current electronic health care records. Ultimately, PCM puts the right patient information at the fingertips of VA caregivers in real-time across mobile and desktop devices.
With suicide being a major crisis for the VA – and for the nation as a whole – we need the right programs and innovations to help provide the best quality care to Veterans at all times.
This is why we are naming the VA, and key industry members, as this week’s GovTransformers. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.