243212 Using media to promote communication and collaboration: The rural veteran provider network

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:30 PM

Wendy Opsahl, MA , Atlas Research LLC, Washington, DC
Mark Chichester, JD , Atlas Research LLC, Washington, DC
Brian Barclay , Atlas Research, Washington, DC
Megan Weibye , Atlas Research, Washington, DC
Ryung Suh, MD MPH MPP MBA , Department of Health Systems Administration, SNHS, Georgetown University, Vienna, VA
After discharge from military service, rural Veterans experience disparities in receiving proper health care. Exacerbating this issue is the fact that many rural health providers lack robust professional networks to exchange information and collaborate on Veteran patient's specific health challenges. Rural Veteran providers have expressed their desire for collaboration, but have never had an appropriate medium for meaningful communication and discussion. The Rural Veteran Provider Network (RVPN) is a project that deploys new media tools and program support infrastructure to promote communication and collaboration to create an online environment where providers, both inside and outside the VA system, can share experiences and discuss innovative health care techniques related to their Veteran patients. The RVPN is a unique product, specifically designed to integrate into existing communication, information security, knowledge management, and/or change management plans. The network will include: information and resources (a library), education and training opportunities (a classroom), professional networking and information exchange (the traditional social network), and a collaborative research environment (a lab). The project team completed a base-line assessment of existing social media tools, area hospitals and medical centers, as well as Veteran outreach organizations so that the RVPN is targeted towards rural Veteran providers in the South Central VA Health Care System. The team developed a beta version of the RVPN and user acceptance testing begins in March. The RVPN creates new professional networks that rural Veteran health providers have traditionally lacked, which will ultimately lead to a higher quality of care for rural Veterans.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the benefits of social media platforms for rural health providers. 2. Identify the challenges associated with rural populations and social media. 3. Assess the needs of rural Veteran health providers for collaboration. 4. Describe the Rural Veteran Provider Network and its progress.

Keywords: Rural Health Service Providers, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Principal investigator
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Atlas Research Management Consulting Employment (includes retainer) and Stock Ownership

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.