I’m excited about VA’s Industry Innovation Competition for 2016. It’s an opportunity for the private sector to help solve the most pressing challenges in medicine. This year’s goal is to find solutions to improve mental health care — and the ideas submitted in 2016 could have a positive impact on Veterans for generations to come.

Example, last year, VA hosted the first VA Innovation Creation Series for Prosthetics and Assistive Technologies to help accelerate the development of personalized technologies to improve care and quality of life for Veterans. (Read our blog announcement here.) That series culminated in a 2-day “make-a-thon” at the Richmond VA Medical Center last July.

It’s fascinating to see all the developments taking place in modern medicine, especially those related to technology. Take a look at three impressive health care innovations being incubated right now that may help our fellow Veterans recover and maintain their health:

Smart Pill  

Proteus Digital Health makes a “smart pill” that wirelessly alerts an app after it’s been swallowed. The pill uses digestible sensors made from copper and magnesium that react with stomach acid to send a tiny electrical signal, which is picked up by a Band Aid–like patch worn on the skin. That patch then alerts the Proteus app, which can send reminders to both the patient and doctor if a dose is missed. Proteus executives say their goal is to fix a long-standing and often fatal problem: missed medication, which causes about 125,000 deaths annually in the United States alone.

Printing Organs on Demand

Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are using modified ink-jet technology to build a variety of organ prototypes – including skin for soldiers with life-threatening burns. Researchers are also exploring printing complex tissue components for facial and skull reconstruction using a 3-D printer.

 A Gel That Instantly Stops Bleeding

“Imagine that you’re a soldier running through a battle field, you get hit in the leg with a bullet. Instead of bleeding out in three minutes you pull a small pack of gel out of your belt, and with the press of a button, you’re able to stop your own bleed and you’re on your way to recovery.” VetiGel stops traumatic bleeds in seconds without the need for manual pressure, making it easier to treat wounds in emergency situations. It has been determined safe to use on animals in veterinary settings – and it could save lives on the battlefield once it is approved for human use, the company hopes, within the next year.

Although it can take years for medical innovations to come to fruition, there is something you can do to advance the health of Veterans right now: Join VA. As the largest health care system in the U.S., the career opportunities are endless – and you’ll experience the fulfillment that comes with caring for the brave men and women who have served our country.

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Published on Mar. 4, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

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  1. Terri Lee Pedersen March 15, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I will do my best to vent my frustration with the VA system with out loosing my temper. I am a 51 year old female who served in the military for 5 years. I have had fusions from C1 to C6 and 2 lower back surgeries. I suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Parkinsons and just found out I have a rated hearing loss. I am in constant pain and suffer from serious muscle spasms, headaches, pain running down my legs and hip problems. I do not want to sound ungrateful because without VA I would have no insurance at all. My gripe with the system is everyone (doctors) just pass the buck to the next doctor whenever you start talk about mail medication. I have has private insure before and never has a problem receiving maintenance pain medication. I have never been caught selling or abusing them yet every doctor has sympathy for my sometime debilitating pain but tell me it is always someone else’s job to dispense this medicine. I have been told point bland that no doctor want to write those type of prescriptions because of their licenses. I do not want to live off of Social Security (if it even gets approved) I just want some help managing the pain. I have also been told the government has tied their hands. In the meantime I have time deal with this severe paint on a daily basis and go though there little shots and what not. I HURT!!! Can anyone hear me? or even better help me. If I hear one more time we cannot give out narcotics I have going to explode! Any assistance or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Randall Abelbeck March 11, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I have been wondering if equipment that comes from Bioness or (Saebo) or similar equipment is available to use to recover from a stroke. My first meeting with a physical therapist at my local VA was very unprofessional and very biased that I have not gone back or even tried to contact them. The only thing she did not say was roll over and die, but it was insinuated. So I have been tapping into my life savings and am working with a restorative therapist, and so far he has taken me farther than any PT has ever done. I was from the Vietnam era, however, I never was in Vietnam, but Germany in the Pershing missile system,and was close to sending off a nuclear missile in October of “68 when the so called satillite Countries of the then USSR were in a short term revolt, and Russia had crossed into West Germany to put down the revolts going on in these countries. This was very frightening for me. Then only a 20 yr old. Especially when hearing chatter over the headsets from the Pentagon and my finger only one inch from the firing button and a locked and loaded 45 pointed at my head. I wanted nothing to do with a nuclear war. However close it got at least it didn’t happen ,but the closeness of that episode still bother me today. That was 48 yrs ago,However, the story does not end there. Upon arriving in JFK I looked around the airport and there was a lot of wet and muddy people that were about my age so I found somebody that I thought might help me. The VA booth. He told me that there was a rock concert out side of a town named Woodstock. and it had been raining most of the week. He ended his statement by saying ” Damn Hippies” at the same time he was doing nothing to help Vietnam vets entering the airport some had obvious wounds. This told me what to expect from the VA. That has never changed my view of the VA either here in Lincoln, NE or Omaha,NE. There seems to be an arrogance with the so-called professionals except for the two physicians I have been assigned with. I’m not sure, now, I’m selfish here, that I would go to the VA for much of anything except my physician so I can get medications that would cost me too much. My savings is about gone.

  3. Elizabeth Wells March 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Is cosentyx a covered drug under the VA formulary

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