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GITEC 2016: What the VA Can Learn from Disney

Sean Kelley envisions a customer-centric world for Veterans Affairs that rivals the Magic Kingdom, but he needs some help getting there.

In the year 2020, Sean Kelley wants Veterans Affairs hospitals to be like … Disney World?

At first thought, it seems odd, but as Kelley, a senior adviser to VA CIO LaVerne Council, said the most magical place on Earth focuses on creating a great customer experience. He said it’s time the VA did so too.

“When you look at Disney, you see a high experience factor with attention to quality and small details,” Kelley said in a keynote presentation at the 2016 GITEC Summit in Baltimore. “They have proactive insight into their customer’s needs. That’s something everyone should try to replicate.”

Improving the Customer Experience at VA

It’s that customer experience Kelley wants to capture. His vision includes a fully integrated system that makes receiving treatment or services at a VA facility seamless for veterans. That includes using mobile technology that provides location-based services that walk a veteran through his or her appointment, optimizing their time while improving overall service.

Electronic health records serve as the core of this program. Patients can access their medical history, receive information on their diagnosis or learn about their medications in one central place. As such, the need for information security solutions will only grow.

“At VA, we’ve long spent too much time looking at the veteran from just a healthcare perspective,” Kelley said. “Ms. Council has been straightforward in her approach, wanting to take a complete view of the veteran from when they are discharged from active duty until the end of their life.”

Moving Toward the 2020 Vision

With 2020 just three and a half years away, Kelley called on industry to provide the right solutions. He said the technology exists in different forms, but he wants industry’s best and brightest to help him move fast.

The biggest thing industry can provide is value, he said. Kelley doesn’t want solutions recycled from elsewhere in the market, but ideas that can help VA’s distinct challenges.

“Small or big, all these companies started because someone thought they could make a difference,” Kelley said. “If you’ve got something that will make you stand out from the market, come tell me. That’s what industry needs to bring, because they’ve got the smarts.”

Finally, in what will be a welcome note for marketers, Kelley said he loves a good white paper. He said he circulates valuable white papers among his colleagues and uses them to find solutions.

“All companies have to hunt, I understand that,” Kelley said, “but you need to hunt with a sharp arrow.”

United States Army Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier/Wikimedia Commons
Apr 11 2016

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