In his State of the Union Address, President Obama made clear that innovation is vital to the American economy – and that government has an important role to serve in supporting innovators across the country. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to finding new technologies, processes, and solutions emerging from dynamic companies in the private sector that can help us better serve our Veterans.
- The first project is a proof of concept to make elements of VA’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) available to doctors and nurses on an iPad or iPhone device, thereby driving down the need to rely on COWs – Computers On Wheels – they currently share and push around the hospital. This pilot, taking place at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center, uses a solution proposed by a young company called Agilex, LLC. The pilot will allow patient search, demographics, laboratory data, medications, allergies, appointments, and problem lists to be displayed on a much more portable product. Agilex will also integrate clinic schedules and secure messaging onto the device.
- The second project being launched at the DC VAMC makes it possible for health care providers to securely review, share, and respond to cardiologic data on portable devices, increasing clinicians’ ability to respond quickly to patients suffering heart attacks. Think of this as a way to test a different platform than Agilex in the same hospital. mVisum, Inc., a small firm located in New Jersey, is our partner in this.
- The third pilot is cutting edge on the wearable sensor and predictive analytics front. We are funding the continued development of a set of wearable sensors that will work wirelessly with a software solution to track and analyze biometric data to more accurately predict health problems before they occur. This project, underway with the firm VG Bioinformatics rolls out in two stages at the Salt Lake City VA Medical Center with patients suffering from advanced heart failure.
- Finally, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) continues to be a major condition suffered by Veterans from all conflicts. It’s the science behind how we treat TBI that’s changing rapidly. Our project at the McGuire VA Medical Center’s Polytrauma Clinic in Richmond, Va., tests a software tool – the TBI Toolbox – that was developed by MedRed, LLC. The TBI Toolbox enables decision support and standardized data gathering from brain injury treatments. The strategy is to allow sharing of rapidly evolving treatment guidelines at VA polytrauma centers and Department of Defense medical facilities, as well as patient progress and outcomes.
VAi2 is currently working with roughly two dozen more innovators to finalize contract details, pilot site selection, and performance plans. We will continue announcing awards and projects both here on VAntage Point and on our own website.
We’re also readying our next competition: The 2011 Industry Innovation Competition will be announced in the next two weeks with new topics but the same commitment to improving access, quality, cost, and satisfaction within VA while providing entrepreneurial companies with new opportunities.
Jonah Czerwinski was Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and served as Director of the VA Innovation Initiative at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
*Note: VAi2 has been superseded by the VA Center for Innovation (VACI). Links in this post have been updated to reflect that change.