VA awards funds for telehealth, adverse drug event innovation pilots

By Mary Mosquera
10:29 AM

The Veterans Affairs Department has awarded funds to six organizations for innovative projects primarily to improve health care, including for information technology for a quick, easy and secure method to connect to on-call clinical staff automatically.

VA’s Innovation Initiative (VAi2) competition is the department’s leading open government effort.

The award to Magpie Healthcare of Westminster, Colo., which provides clinical communications software, will give VA clinicians in Portland, Ore., the IT tools to access staff and activate patient care teams faster. The pilot will evaluate the effect of new technology on efficiency and collaboration in VA hospitals, the department said in an announcement May 6. 

The VAi2 program aims to enhance access, quality of care and veterans’ satisfaction while reducing costs, said Jonah Czerwinski, VAi1 director. The department selects, funds and evaluates ideas from its employees, academia and the private sector for further development and testing.

“VAi2 gives the department the ability to find new solutions for some of our toughest challenges,” he said.

A pilot at five VA medical centers in Texas, Missouri and Illinois will use clinical and laboratory data in real time to identify patients at risk of adverse drug reactions and to reduce medical complications through an award to DSS Inc. of Juno Beach, Fla., which develops and integrates software for VistA, VA’s electronic health record, and TheraDoc of Salt Lake City, a clinical decision support software provider.

[Related: VA, citing taxpayer savings, seeks open source EHR.]

Another project will enable clinicians at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center to integrate clinical and laboratory data to predict which patients are at risk of adverse drug reactions through an award to the Southwest Research Institute, a not-for-profit group in San Antonio, Tex.