It is not easy to positively impact one million Veteran lives while engaging 25,000 frontline employees and saving $30 million, but the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) has done just that by empowering frontline employees to innovate.

Through its four portfolios, and under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Ryan Vega, VHA IE is improving care for Veterans by revitalizing grassroots and strategic innovation efforts within the VHA health care system. It’s also forging innovative partnerships with academia and private industry. Consisting of the VHA Innovators Network (iNET), Diffusion of Excellence, Care and Transformational Initiatives, and the VHA Innovators Community, VHA IE has been incredibly successful and has positively impacted many Veteran lives.

In practice

Take, for instance, a Veteran who had his life impacted by VHA IE’s Mobile OPS (Orthotic and Prosthetic Services) practice. This practice, supported and spread through iNET, brings full prosthetic services to Veterans who cannot or will not access VA facilities, allowing them to receive the right prosthetic from the people who know Veteran care better than anyone else. This program prompted one Veteran to tell his friend, “Look how important I am. The VA comes to me.”

Programs and practices like this prompted Modern Healthcare to honor Dr. Vega with a Top 25 Emerging Leaders award for 2019. The award reflects the commitment of Dr. Vega and all VA innovators to change Veteran care for the better and influence health care as a whole.

“The accomplishments of the VHA Innovation Ecosystem and Dr. Vega are further evidence of VA’s commitment to innovating across multiple dimensions of care and value for Veterans,” said VA Secretary, Robert Wilkie. “Improving health outcomes, cost savings and waste avoidance, and increased efficiency and productivity are what mission-driven innovation is all about and that we strive for everyday at VA.”

For more information about VHA IE, visit

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Published on Jan. 16, 2020

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One Comment

  1. Cecil Walter Holliman January 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    I served in the Vietnam War from Sept. 1966 thru Sept. 1967 at Tan San Nhut Air Force Base under the DCOI as a Photo Interpreter, doing Target Defence analysis, Bomb Damage Assessment and preparing Special Reports for different targets and for Situations to provide evidence to confirm or deny the results of Classified operations and Targets. For which I was told I was nominated for The Bronze Star Medal and by Commanding Officer that I had been approved for a Battlefield Commission. Refused because I was not able to speak with my wife. Had I been single, would have accepted in a second !

    After being Honorably Discharged and began life as a civilian and in later years starting to have health problems and sort help from the VA. This was a life saving and limb saving decision! I was diagnosed with Diabetes, PTSD, Parkinson’s Disease and others. If not for the VA I know without a doubt I would not be writing about this love of the care I have gotten.

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