Dr Thomas Osborne, Pinnacle Award finalist: “I am most proud to be part of building the healthcare system of the future”

Dr Thomas Osborne, Department of Veterans Affairs

The WashingtonExec Pinnacle Awards finalists were announced on October 13, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place virtually on December 8.

Next is the finalist for the Government’s Health Care Executive of the Year, Dr. Thomas Osborne, director of the National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Here he talks about key accomplishments, key areas of interest for the future, career advice and more.

What were your main achievements in 2020/2021?

I am very proud of the hard work of our team, its expertise and its effective collaboration. As a result, we made our VA Palo Alto one of the world’s first 5G hospitals. As part of this effort, we are also leading leading innovations in the use of augmented reality and mixed reality to improve healthcare through advanced education, training, presurgical planning and surgical advice.

In addition, our team also quickly tackled a variety of COVID challenges; we discovered new insights from big data to better triage patients with predictive modeling, and at the onset of the pandemic, we also discovered how aspirin use correlated with significantly better outcomes.

We have brought advanced technologies to reconnect patients who have been isolated by COVID protocols, and have led the discovery and implementation of advanced operational readiness systems to effectively empower thousands of our VA staff.

What made you successful in your current role?

My belief is that great leaders help others be successful. And it benefits many others, including myself. This strategy applies not only to our team members, but also to other teams we work with, but most importantly to the veteran patients we serve.

What are you most proud to have been a part of in your current organization?

I am very proud to be a part of building the health care system of the future. Help solve big challenges that have a positive impact on the lives of many people and develop solutions that transform illness into well-being.

What are your main goals for the future and why are they so important for the future of the nation?

Healthcare faces a titanic confluence of three enormous challenges. We have a growing aging population with multiple co-morbidities, staggering healthcare costs that exceed 20% of our GDP, and we don’t have enough providers to serve all who need them, even if we could afford it.

These collisional forces accelerate over time and impact not only patients, but also their loved ones and society. My main goal is to work on specific projects at the intersection of these three strengths, as the solutions we develop here can be generalized and scaled to solve many other related challenges.

What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

Don’t believe those who say your ideas are impossible. If you have a deep passion and determination for your goals, especially a vision bigger than yourself, anything is possible.

Meet the other Pinnacle Awards finalists here.

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