VA contest seeks industry HIT innovations

By Mary Mosquera
10:20 AM

The Department of Veterans Affairs will make $80 million available to test technology applications developed through a competition to find innovative solutions to VA's most pressing healthcare challenges, including homelessness, expanding online healthcare and strategies for treating kidney disease on an outpatient basis.

The VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2), a flagship program designed to tap the talent and expertise of people inside and outside the department, funds, tests and puts into practice projects that significantly improve the access, quality, performance and cost of veteran services.
"By targeting innovations that are nearing commercialization, the Industry Innovation Competition provides a bridge between creative ideas in the private sector and real-world deployments that improve the services we deliver," said Peter Levin, senior adviser to the secretary and VA's chief technology officer.

Levin encouraged participants in the competition, including members of the general public, private companies, entrepreneurs, universities and nonprofits, to target areas of interest for VA, such as telehealth and preventing adverse drug reactions through software tools that can integrate with electronic health records and other VA systems.

Other healthcare innovations VA sought are new models for kidney dialysis and renal disease prevention and improvements in care for veterans and returning service members who suffer from multiple injuries. These may include the application of dynamic treatment algorithms, home monitoring of diverse and complex symptoms and assistive technologies.

VA is looking for solutions which can be established and have an impact within 24 months. Industry must offer proposals by Sept. 30, VA said in an announcement published on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

In May, VA announced the winners of a similar innovation competition among VA employees. The 26 winners represented 23 different VA medical centers, program offices and regional healthcare divisions in 17 states.

The selected projects included an electronic discharge pilot program, automated patient queries and reports from the department's computerized patient record system (CPRS) and displaying the patient's picture in CPRS. 

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