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If your product or service is not yet market ready or you are interested in developing or refining your solution, VA may innovate with you to advance your solution through testing and pilot programs. For innovation efforts, typically, there is no monetary exchange when we engage in collaboration and co-design of an innovation.
If your product or service is market ready (I.e., ready for use now, has existing customers, etc.), VA may evaluate and consider it for acquisition and purchase. You may go back to the VA Pathfinder homepage to navigate the sell track, if your solution is market ready.
You can get involved by joining our Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Veteran / Caregiver advocate repository!
Our SMEs are key partners in helping to accelerate our innovations and our innovators’ learning and development. Some ways SMEs are involved include mentoring innovators in design challenges, speaking at innovation make-a-thon/hack-a-thon events, participating in focus groups, and offering clinical expertise.
As a Veteran / Caregiver advocate, you are a critical voice for Veterans and Caregivers by participating in focus groups, providing feedback about potential new projects, and serving as project champions across VA.
Every innovator goes through a due diligence process to ensure that both parties are suited to work collaboratively. Additionally, our innovators form and commit to agreements. A majority of our initiatives are built on Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), which allows mutually beneficial collaborations between VA and other organizations. We also use Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).
Every innovator goes through a due diligence process to ensure that both parties are suited to work collaboratively. Additionally, our innovators form and commit to agreements, such as CRADAs, MOUs, NDAs. A majority of our initiatives are built on Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), which allows mutually beneficial collaborations between VA and other organizations. We also use Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).
A Statement of Work (SoW) will be completed by both parties after the initial kickoff call. It will outline the IP rights, as well as the work to be done on behalf of both parties. It also will serve as the basis for proceeding legal agreements, as needed (such as a contract, CRADA, etc.) Some projects require no legal agreement, but acknowledgement of the collaboration is appreciated.
VA has collaborated with many organization types to provide better care to Veterans.
Initiative to End Diabetic Limb Loss
VHA Innovation Ecosystem, VHA National Podiatry Office, Office of Health Equity, and VHA field providers and researchers partnered with Podimetrics to design and test new care models that incorporate remote temperature monitoring in the Prevention of Amputation (PAVE) care throughout VA. Using artificial intelligence, Podimetrics offers a remote monitoring system that helps at-risk diabetic Veterans through early detection of diabetic foot complications such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) before they occur, creating an opportunity for VA providers and Veterans to work together to prevent the ulcer. This initiative has helped reduce amputations and hospitalization cross VA.
Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers
VHA Innovation Ecosystem, VHA Caregiver Support Program, VHA Geriatrics & Extended Care, and Veterans Experience Office (VEO) are collaborating with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF) to offer family caregivers of Veterans or service members access to free, short-term relief with the help of in-home care professionals. The Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers program offers 80,000 hours of respite relief nationwide, donated to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation by CareLinx. This initiative is available nationwide and continues delivering much-needed respite care to support Veteran and military caregivers.
Combining Computational Innovation with Big Data to Benefit Veterans
VHA’s National Center for Healthcare Innovation is working with the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) at the Department of Energy (DOE) to combine the Nation’s largest and most robust longitudinal dataset with the computational prowess of the Department of Energy to focus on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), prostate cancer, and suicide risk. The goal of this innovative partnership is to better understand the Veteran patient populations impacted by these conditions, as well as the influence of various treatments or medications on the conditions.
VA innovation can improve clinical outcomes, build trust, and lower the cost of healthcare broadly by engaging directly with the customer…the Veteran. Listening and responding to the needs of the Veteran should inform the direction VA innovation proceeds; engaging with VSOs creates reciprocal engagement of soliciting problems and ideas directly from the “voice of the Veteran,” and pioneering innovative programs and concepts collaboratively.
Here's a couple of examples of how we’ve innovated with VSOs previously:
Voluntary Service Curbside Delivery (VSCD): To meet the growing needs resulting from unexpected economic and physical hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, VSCD was created. A first-of-its-kind in the VA health care system, the program leverages partnership with the VSO, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), to pivot in meeting Veterans’ needs. DAV normally transports patients to medical appointments, but in partnership with VHAIE, DAV is transporting food pantry, hygiene items, and household cleaning items to vulnerable Veteran patients who are sequestered and unable to leave their homes. Since it was operationalized on April 1, 2020, the program has served over 125 Veterans while simultaneously keeping volunteers safely engaged.
Virtual Creative Arts Therapy: While many Veterans are at risk for experiencing mental health challenges, the social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has increased this risk. Through a partnership with the VSO, Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP), VHA will engage Veterans at specific VA Medical Centers’ spinal cord injury and polytrauma residential programs, in ASAP’s virtual creative arts therapy programming. This collaboration aims to reduce feelings of social isolation, loneliness, and anxiety, while increasing the participants’ sense of purpose. This partnership will give ASAP the opportunity to engage Veterans in the design, development and validation of new virtual modalities.