V-I-O-N-E. These five letters can change a Veteran’s life.
For many Veterans, taking a variety of medications is a necessity. But the simultaneous use of multiple medications—known as polypharmacy—can lead to dangerous drug interactions, adverse outcomes, and challenges with a patient’s ability to adhere to the proper schedule and dosage. In fact, polypharmacy ranks among the top 10 common causes of death in the U.S.
VIONE is a simple, user friendly medication management methodology used to reduce polypharmacy and improve patient safety, comfort, and medication adherence consistent with high-reliability organizations.
Clinicians and pharmacists use the VIONE acronym to determine if a Veteran’s medications are actively supporting their health care goals:
- Vital: Is this medication vital to the patient’s health?
- Important: How important is this medication to the patient’s quality of life?
- Optional: By taking this medicine, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
- Not indicated: Is the patient taking medications that are no longer needed?
- Every medication has a reason: Does every medication support a clear diagnosis or indication?
Developed by VA
VIONE was developed by Dr. Saraswathy Battar, Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatrics and Extended Care Services at Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. It has has successfully impacted the lives of over 77,000 Veterans by deprescribing 168,000 medications and yielding more than $5.8 million in annualized cost avoidance by ensuring Veterans are only taking the medications they need.
Dr. Battar experienced a positive outcome of VIONE in her own facility: “One of our Veterans in the dementia unit had been non-conversant, non-interactive, and non-ambulatory for years. Through the VIONE approach, the pharmacist and clinicians worked together and deprescribed several of his medications over six months. He eventually woke up singing, walking, lucid, and joyful. It was like seeing a miracle unfold in front of my eyes.”
The program, supported by the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem’s (VHA IE) Diffusion of Excellence, is now spreading throughout VHA and moving into the private sector and has even been recognized by Congressmen French Hill (R-AR).
This is just one of the many programs supporting VHA IE’s mission to enable the discovery and spread of health care innovations within VHA that exceed expectations, restore hope, and build trust within the Veteran community.
For more information about VHA IE, visit https://www.va.gov/INNOVATIONECOSYSTEM/home.html.