San Francisco area VA employees and leaders will arrive today to participate in a one-day Shark Tank event with the goal of sharing innovative promising practices and bidding on practices to implement. Staff at every level are eager to share information, teach and learn from each other, and figure out ways to provide Veterans and their supporters with the care they earned and deserve.


VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin, created the Shark Tank approach that San Francisco has chosen to adopt.  This competition allows VA leaders and employees to identify actual solutions developed by employees that can then be shared across the system to directly improve experiences for Veterans and drive a supportive culture of continuous improvement.

For the VHA wide Shark Tank event, more than 250 innovations and improvements were submitted in November 2015 from VA employees throughout the country, ranging from physicians to researchers to chaplains. These were narrowed to 20 finalists from 14 regional networks, who gave rapid-fire virtual pitches on January 29 to VA medical center leaders, similar to the television show “Shark Tank.”

Participants pitched innovations and improvements they’ve had success implementing in their own facilities, ranging from code cart organization to increase efficiency, to improving same day access to urgent primary care, to improving access to care for rural Veterans, to anesthesia improvements that reduce nausea and pain while speeding recovery.  The leaders committed resources to the innovations they wished to replicate or adapt at their medical center and 10 promising practices were chosen.

In San Francisco

At the day-long Shark Tank event in San Francisco, the leaders are focused on involving employees and external stakeholders, not just the “Sharks”. Facility leaders that want to bid on the 28 promising practices chosen for this event will be known as “Crusaders” and external stakeholders, or “Sharks”, will support these bids by asking questions and give feedback about the promising practice, implementation, and results. Our Sharks come from a wide pool and include a community Veteran, a Pelosi staffer, a journalist, and Craig from Craigslist! The Crusaders will make their bids based on the promising practice pitches, the questions and feedback from the Sharks, and collaboration from the audience.

The innovations and improvements that will be pitched range from case management, to code recording, and even the increased use of technology. The pitch videos will even be posted on VHA Communication’s YouTube page and the San Francisco VA Health Care System’s website so that any members of the public can learn more about the promising practices.

To Learn More

The San Francisco VAMC communication’s team will be posting on Facebook and Twitter as well blogging during the event. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to learn more. To participate in the conversation, join us on Twitter by tweeting at @SFVAMC or using #SFVASharkTank.

Share this story

Published on May. 26, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2.3 min.

Views to date: 71

More Stories

  • Cynthia Perkins received help from the Boston VA for chronic back pain and MST… then started her own business.

  • Each year, the Veterans Day National Committee hosts the annual Veterans Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery. This year, 33 communities in 25 states and the District of Columbia will also host VA-recognized Veterans Day observances to pay tribute to America’s heroes.

  • Should brain injury caused by a blast wave from an explosion be considered distinct from a TBI caused by a physical impact?