Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center - Richmond, VA
VA Leverages Health Care Innovation
VA is expanding its use of a new proven medical device that advances the early detection of diabetic foot ulcers in the Veteran population. Studies show that one in four Veterans have Diabetes and last year alone, the VA treated over 75,000 diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). If not caught early, these ulcers can be difficult to treat and may lead to amputation.
The Podimetrics Mat, which is currently in use at 15 VA medical centers around the country, provides evidenced-based thermographic monitoring to identify early onset of diabetic foot ulcers. The device detects this condition as early as five weeks before typical symptoms occur. This allows providers an opportunity to intervene early and work to prevent an infection.
Suzanne Shirley, an Entrepreneur in Residence for VHA: Innovation Ecosystem and Innovation Specialist at Central Virginia VA Health Care System, is excited to see this addition to VA’s already unique approach to the prevention of DFU.
“Because of the PAVE model, or Prevention of Amputations in Veterans Everywhere, VA is uniquely situated to tackle this problem systemically using innovative clinical care models and cutting-edge technology to improve the health and wellness of Veterans,” Shirley said.
Through a partnership between VHA Innovation and the VA’s Office of Health Equity, Shirley is helping to bring this technology to Central Virginia VA HCS and throughout VA medical centers in Virginia and North Carolina.
“With the use this technology, Veterans have the opportunity to participate in the daily monitoring of their feet from home and the results are incredible,” Shirley said.
Veteran James Pauley has been a Podiatry patient for about three years now. He recently received his Podimentrics Mat.
“I’m looking forward to getting to the part where it keeps me from getting my feet messed up,” Pauley said.
With this technology now being infused in our health care systems across the VAs in North Carolina and Virginia, along with innovative clinical care models, Shirley is confident we will prevent diabetic limb loss and ultimately save lives.
Suzanne Shirley serves as a national Fellow with the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem as the Entrepreneur in Residence. In this role, she works to expand VHA’s partnerships with industry and academia across the country to promote design-thinking in solving Veteran challenges through socializing solutions, design competitions, and hackathons. Shirley is also an Innovation Specialist with a background in clinical social work, healthcare administration, and system redesign at the Central Virginia VA Health Care System in Richmond, Virginia.