From Virtual Reality to a bike-share program, innovators from across VA and beyond are impacting Veteran lives through novel programs and practices. At this year’s virtual VHA Innovation Experience (iEX), Oct. 27-29, attendees will discover 18 striking innovations at the VHA iEX Demos (Demos) event. During the Demos, attendees will hear from the innovators – 18 from the VHA Innovators Network (iNET) – about how they identified a specific challenge for Veterans and worked to develop an innovation to solve the problem.

At the Demos, presenters will have three minutes to tell the story of their innovation, from identifying the problem to designing and testing a solution. Presenters will showcase how they developed their innovation through techniques like human-centered design, how their practice is impacting clinical care delivery at VA medical centers, and their aspirations for their solution within VA and beyond. Once their demo is complete, presenters will receive feedback from a panel of experts.

[accordion][accordion_section title=”A Novel Device for Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea”]

Ravi Rasalingam, VA Boston Healthcare System

The majority of patients with obstructive sleep apnea remain untreated or undertreated as current treatments are uncomfortable for nightly, long-term use. This approach leverages advances in orthodontia that have provided comfortable and discrete methods for oral therapy to create a custom-fit mouthguard that stabilizes the tongue and prevents obstruction of the throat at night.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Computer Decision Support System (CDSS)-Micro Guide Mobile App”]

Bobbie Masoud and Erik Stensgards, Minneapolis VA Health Care System

Clinicians must be logged into the electronic health record Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) to access the Antimicrobial CDSS tool that offers expert antimicrobial prescribing advice. The CDSS takes into consideration local patterns of antimicrobial resistance and expert opinion(s). The CDSS-Micro Guide App extends the CDSS platform onto the app, allowing access to the CDSS tool when and where VA caregivers need it (e.g., rounding, teaching, curbside consult).[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Aromatherapy to Decrease the Burden of Pro Re Nata (PRN) Medications”]

Beth Abele, Chillicothe VA Medical Center

Aromatherapy to reduce the burden of PRN or “as needed” medications offers Veterans a non-pharmacological whole health approach to improved overall health and wellbeing.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Bike Share Program”]

Matt Cox, Chillicothe VA Medical Center

By implementing a bike share program at VA medical centers, VA has been able to encourage and increase Veteran, employee, and community activity, as well as mental stability. However, during the winter or a pandemic, the bike share program loses much of its impact. By utilizing stationary trainers, Veterans and employees can bicycle year-round, ride in a private setting, and allow the bike share to continue to have an impact on Veteran lives.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Drop Ease”]

Terri Ohlinger, Cincinnati VA Medical Center

Veterans with manual dexterity issues cannot effectively dispense eye drops, leading to increased costs, compromised outcomes, and low patient self-esteem. Drop Ease is a simple, easy-to-use eye drop delivery system designed for Veterans with manual dexterity issues that allows them to aim and dispense eye drops with little effort.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Engagement Solutions in the Community Living Center”]

Alyssa Welch, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System

Veterans miss opportunities for participation in therapeutic activities for many reasons, but through strategic use of multimedia solutions, Veterans become more engaged in activities that they would otherwise miss. This improves the health and quality of life of Veterans living in Community Living Centers.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Freeze the Keys!”]

Sabah Ocasio and Heather Caron, Syracuse VA Medical Center

Freeze the Keys! is a cutting-edge mechanism designed to place an additional barrier between a suicidal Veteran and a firearm. The gun lock keys are suspended in a specially engineered container and then frozen with Veterans Crisis Line information and photos of loved ones attached.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Housekeeping Cart Sweeper Attachment”]

Larry Hillson, VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System

When VA Environmental Management Staff are traveling from point A to point B with their cleaning carts, the time used is often unproductive. With the Housekeeping Cart Sweeper Attachment on the bottom of the cleaning cart, the floors at VA medical centers get swept as the cart moves. This turns an otherwise unproductive activity into one that helps keep the facility clean.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Mobile OPS “]

G. Eli Kaufman, VA Puget Sound Health Care System

VA patients with limb loss face numerous barriers traveling to VA medical centers where prosthetic clinical services are provided. Mobile OPS removes the barrier of travel and increases access to critical prosthetic care by seeing Veterans at or closer to home.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”MOBILE (Mobile Optimization for Brief Integrative Learning Experiences) Simulation Cart”]

Misoor Goueli, Cincinnati VA Medical Center

In recent years, due to a lack of training opportunities, physicians have experienced an alarming erosion in their bedside procedure skills. The MOBILE Simulation Cart reverses this trend by reducing the barriers to skill acquisition.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Operation Peace”]

Carolyn Gartner, Martinsburg VA Medical Center

Operation Peace expands VA’s practice of Reiki by offering two group Reiki sessions per month, twice annual Level I Reiki training for Veterans and, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting to 100% virtual access. With the practice of Reiki, Veterans report improved mood, feeling calmer, experiencing less pain, taking less medication, having an improved sense of connection, and feeling empowered to manage their symptoms. [/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”PRIDE in All Who Served (TA-NET)”]

Tiffany Lange-Altman, Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center

Psychotherapy approaches developed for “distinct cultural groups yield better outcomes, including engagement, retention, and satisfaction in therapy” (Smith, Rodriguez, & Bernal, 2011). However, there are no current manualized approaches for psychotherapy with Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Veterans, leaving many mental health clinicians feeling ill-equipped. That is why PRIDE was developed. Trans-Affirmative Narrative Exposure Therapy (TA-NET) fills this critical care gap as a trauma-focused intervention for the transgender community designed to fit VA’s emphasis on time-limited and measurement-based care.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Prosthetic Sock Management Tool”]

Billie Slater, Minneapolis VA Health Care System

Correct use of prosthetic socks is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the residual limb and for maintaining the fit and comfort of the prosthetic socket for Veterans with amputations. The Prosthetic Sock Management Tool (PSMT) uses a custom-designed infographic and pouch system for patient education regarding the correct use of prosthetic socks, the creation of healthy habits for socket comfort, and fit checks, as well as providing laundering care instructions. [/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Spinal Cord Injury Sexual Health and Fertility: An Interdisciplinary Approach”]

April Conway, VA St. Louis Health Care System

Research shows sexual function is a “top 5” priority for Veterans, yet sexual health education and services are often lacking in the spinal cord injury (SCI) services at VA medical centers. We have discussed how to address the concern for sexual health and fertility treatment at the VA St. Louis Health Care System SCI Unit, created an assessment tool, provided standardized education and resources, spread this to our spoke sites, and are collaborating with urology for semen retrieval for fertility.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Telelactation Program”]

Cody Giovannetti, Memphis VA Medical Center

Despite the benefits associated with breastfeeding, many barriers prevent women from being able to breastfeed as long as is recommended or from initiating breastfeeding at all. Lactation services are not routinely offered through VA, making it unclear whether Veterans are receiving the support, education and tools to successfully breastfeed. The Telelactation Program (TLP) provides this support to Veterans through easy-to-access telemedicine tools. Since FY16, 90% of pregnant Veterans initiated breastfeeding, 36.8% exclusively breastfed for three months, 26.3% exclusively breastfed for six months, 44.7% breastfed until six months of age, and 25% breastfed until one year of age, outstripping most of Tennessee’s rates. TLP is also a Finalist in the VHA Shark Tank Competition.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Through Our Eyes: The Women Veteran’s Experience Roadshow”]

Christina Burr, VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System

Through Our Eyes: The Women Veteran’s Experience Roadshow introduces honorable women Veterans to their fellow Veterans and the public through their portraits and My Life My Story biographies. This traveling exhibit serves as a reminder of the many women Veterans that are serving our communities and country.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Virtual Reality for Employee Education”]

Barry Peterson, VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System

Employees are exposed to valuable new knowledge but frequently don’t get enough practice time to convert the knowledge into abilities. Virtual Reality (VR) for Employee Education envisions using VR to provide engaging, realistic practice sessions, especially for high-stakes skills. Learning from the pandemic and user input, the practice has better positioned itself to provide employees with VR-practice for the skills that matter most to them today.[/accordion_section][accordion_section title=”Virtual Reality Immersion: Distraction Therapy for Veterans”]

Caitlin Rawlins, Charles George VA Medical Center

Resource and treatment options for Veterans do not include adequate, adjunct therapies to improve pain management, decrease complications and stress, and improve overall Veteran quality of life. This problem needs to be addressed throughout every level of care to create a paradigm shift toward a more holistic approach to Veteran well-being. The Virtual Reality Immersion, using immersive sounds and imagery, decreases pain, stress, anxiety, depression and boredom by drawing the patient’s attention into a different “reality,” successfully distracting them from negative stressors.[/accordion_section][/accordion]

Learn more about all of these incredible innovations at iEX this year.iEX Orange Register ButtonAlongside the iEX Demos, attendees will get to experience a fascinating keynote from Mark Johnson, engaging panels and discussions, the powerful iEX Talks presentations, and the return of the popular VHA Shark Tank Competition.

Do not miss a moment of iEX 2020. Register today to receive access to the event platform and app the moment they launch! Mark your calendars for Oct. 27-29!

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Published on Sep. 28, 2020

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