VA recognized for advancements in health care access, 3D printing applications

Leaders of two U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) initiatives have been named winners of the 2020 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) for improving health care access for Veterans and advancing 3D printing applications for Veteran care.

Neil Evans, M.D., Kevin Galpin, M.D. and Kathleen Frisbee, Ph.D. enhanced access to health care for Veterans through VA Connected Care services including telehealth, mobile apps and other digital health solutions — while Beth Ripley, M.D., Ph.D. has contributed to science and medical innovation through VA’s 3D Printing Network assisting health care providers with medical procedures and decreasing unnecessary surgeries.

“Telehealth and 3D printing in health care settings are the wave of the future,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The tireless work of Drs. Evans, Frisbee, Galpin and Ripley has VA leading the way in providing access to these services.”

Among VA’s accomplishments in advancing connected care — more than 1 million Veterans or 18% of all enrolled Veterans completed a video visit at   home in fiscal year 2020, representing over 3 million video-to-home visits. My HealtheVet, VA’s health portal, has more than 3 million authenticated patients who average 440,000 prescription refill requests and send about 280,000 secure messages each week. VA has surpassed 60 mobile health apps on its VA App Store, many of them developed by VA for Veterans and staff to improve the care delivered by the department.

The department is also the first integrated health care system in the country to establish a national 3D Printing Network allowing its health care staff to share ideas, resources and best practices to deliver quality care to patients throughout its enterprise. Innovations in 3D printing across VA have led to advancements in surgery, prosthetics and the treatment of chronic illnesses. Additionally, 3D printing enables VA’s medical providers to customize and tailor solutions to unique, individual patient needs, putting the Veteran at the center of their treatment plan. In March, VA activated its 3D printing network to test 3D designs of medical equipment used by the nation’s health care providers to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veterans interested in learning more about VA’s remote health care services, can visit Connected Care. Innovators interested in learning more about VHA’s 3D Printing Network can visit  VHA Innovation Ecosystem.

The Sammies highlight innovative work and accomplishments in federal government that meet the needs of Americans. View VA Sammies winners.

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