Promoting One’s Whole Health

Health outcomes in our country are poor; the US is now ranked 37th in life expectancy, despite spending far more on healthcare than any other country. The costs are crippling our Nation.

It is time to radically re-envision and redesign healthcare to create a health system, rather than a disease care system. In this redesign, we must start from a different place. We must expand our understanding of what defines healthcare, developing a Whole Health System model that empowers and equips Veterans to discover a path to health and well-being. The VA is uniquely positioned to make this a reality – for our Veterans, and for our Nation.

Whole Health is an approach to healthcare that empowers and equips people to take charge of their health and well-being and to live their life to the fullest. VA facilities have been exploring what it takes to shift from a system designed around points of medical care primarily focused on disease management, to one that is based in a partnership across time focused on whole health. We have learned that clinical encounters are only one part of this equation. We need a health system focused not only on treatment but also on self-empowerment, self-healing, and self-care. Thus, the Whole Health System includes three components:

VA staff have been working with Veterans around the country to bring this approach to life. In addition to seven funded design sites in FY16 and eleven more funded in FY17, many facilities are advancing this approach. In conjunction with the Comprehensive Recovery and Addition Act (CARA) legislation, VA will now launch the full Whole Health System in 18 Flagship Facilities in FY18, the first wave of facilities in the national deployment of Whole Health. In addition to an implementation guide, the Flagship Facilities will receive education and training, resources and tools, and onsite support. Veteran outcomes and satisfaction will be tracked, as well as the interface with opioid safety and suicide prevention. This redesign of healthcare will model the future for the VA, and for the Nation.

To view the full, comprehensive overview of The Radical Redesign of Healthcare to Promote One’s Whole Health by Tracy Gaudet, click here.

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