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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.

Today Secretary Shinseki announced the four new awards we are making to “out-innovate” on behalf of our Vets. Each one is funded by VAi2 through the 2010 Industry Innovation Competition.

  • 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.

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Published on Feb. 4, 2011

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  1. russell cantrall March 30, 2012 at 7:01 am

    can someone tell me why there is a seven year window after gulf war service for service connection for multiple sclerosis? my general neurologist and an ms specialist explained to me that, that information is not accurate, this disease may manifest itself anytime within or many years after the 7 year window. they also said that you may even have many different symptoms for many years before, that come and go, that blood tests and mri imaging wont pick up. i fall into this category. i myself have ms/als like symptoms, without a confirmed diagnosis, dont fit into any ms/als criteria, no etiology with no family history, completely healthy except for devastating neurological damage. help a vet out.

  2. Russell Bourke August 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    President Obama should honor the servicemen who served and have survived only to be abused or denied care and claims before the Veterans Administration. I just had a cardiac-cath and was told I have IHD. I was exposed repeatedly to Agent Orange in Vietnam. IHD is presumptive for Agent Orange Exposure but the VA issued a denial on my claim. I had to find out about the denial through a service organization because the VA deliberately sends the decision mail to the wrong address. My file has been remanded to another state far away from home as another barrier. Is this honoring the Veteran. No, this is SPITTING in the face of the Veteran. Is the VA going to help or just pay bonuses to those who would rather see us dead? Nothing has changed since Vietnam, we are still persecuted.

  3. Jessica Richman March 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Are there any resources or references that explain how the innovations are disseminated after they are selected? As a student of public health, I’ve learned that implementing new tools can be as difficult as creating new tools, but the VA is so successful with the dissemination process than other hospitals. I hope to learn more about the VA’s processes, and how the 2011 contest winners will be implemented.

  4. Jas stevenson February 9, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I am the President and Founder of Final Salute Inc. our mission is to provide homeless female Vetetans with safe and suitable housing. I need help with resources and I have a plan to get all 13,000 of these female Veterans and their children off the street within 90 of being entered into our housing assistance program, but I cant do it without funding and support. We are as 501c3 organization

  5. Frederick E Buck, Jr February 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    This is great in dealing with VA system.

  6. David Apperson February 8, 2011 at 2:15 am

    It would be nice if Veterans Affairs joined with Vets Helping Vets (15,000+ Veteran Advocates) in connecting with an online network that anyone can access pertinent information through ( without the worry of compromising any personal information to third parties ~

    Users can already access VA Prescription Medicine through the network without trying to remember any other web address. is already helping those with little or no Internet experience, patients with TBI and other Veterans that suffer from certain disorders, including, but not limited to, PTSD ~

  7. Jill Trammell February 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I respectfully ask that someone take a look at what we have created for the CAREGIVERS of our most wounded warriors. We have been able to verify at least 12 suicide preventions and connect these families to others suffering through the same problems. We provide HOPE, CONNECTION, ADVOCACY (with the VA) and SUPPORTS so that they can be resilient! Our site works based on user input, profile info and zip codes, so the resources and friend suggestions are local, regional, state and national. We went LIVE in May of 2010 and have over a 1000 registered users already!

    With much pride in what we have accomplished on behalf of caregivers…

    Jill Trammell, VP

  8. Dennis A Roy February 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Can someone at the VA tell me why as a 29 year Army veteran and 100% disabled cannot refinance my mobile home. I believe this is an outright case of discrimination against us who live in mobile homes. I have also emailed my Senator to seek out this answer. Thanks for helping me out.

    • Mike February 8, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      Maybe you should consider a stick built home. Usually these homes hold value better maybe that is the reluctance of companies to refinance you.

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