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Innovation expo: ‘It’s our honor to innovate and improve for you’

Gulf Coast VA’s Innovation Team and Improvement Programs partnered to host the inaugural Innovation & Improvement Expo in mid-March. This was the first event on this scale of collaboration among the innovation and improvement programs. The expo showcased projects and education that have improved Veteran and employee experiences and metrics, as well as provided breakout educational sessions for employees.

Projects improve Veteran experience

Ninety-plus Veterans, caregivers and employees attended the main event.

“It’s Our Honor to Innovate and Improve for You” was the theme. The oyster was chosen to represent the theme, since oysters are known for turning specks of sand into beautiful pearls, a perfect metaphor for how improvement occurs within VA.

The Innovation team partnered with Patient Safety, Patient Experience, Safety, Pathway to Excellence, High Reliability Organization, and Systems Redesign to provide an opportunity for Veterans, caregivers and employees to learn more about the projects impacting the experience and care within the facility.

25 employee-driven projects and hands-on demonstrations

The event shared approximately 25 employee-driven projects, education and opportunities available within each program and hands-on demonstrations.

Innovation & Improvement Expo display

“There are so many things going on to help improve patient care. It was good to see it all in one place and to ask questions of the people involved,” said nurse Shanna King.

Over a year ago, several programs began meeting monthly to form an unprecedented collaboration with the common goal to innovate and improve all aspects within the organization. The meetings are informal sessions the teams use to share ideas, assist each other in specific areas and help break down barriers to improvement. Since then, improvement and collaboration have improved.

Each project’s complexity and needs are different. Many projects require more tools outside of the improvement realm of where it began. The benefits to collaboration and information sharing are evident in the improvements that have been made. Only a fraction of projects were showcased at the Expo, but there will be more to come.

Expo to be held at all community clinic locations

The Innovation and Improvement Expo carried over to the evening to provide a night shift opportunity to engage employees. The night shift event was well attended by staff from the entire campus. “Providing opportunities and allowing night shift to participate is very valuable to our teams. We realize these employees are also very important in driving change,” said Kristy Antonucci, Innovation Specialist.

The expo will not end here. The teams plan to carry this expo to each community clinic location within the Gulf Coast VA throughout the spring and summer.

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