It all began on August 26 and 27. The Breaking Boundaries: Collaboration Challenge launched the 2021 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Innovation Experience (iEX) Virtual Series with amazing success. Over 425 participants tuned in over the two days to see 19 external health care innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups pitch their early-stage solutions for the chance to collaborate with VA, present at the 2021 iEX Marquee Event in October, and most importantly, impact Veteran lives by forging a healthier future.

The competition resulted in 10 companies being selected to join with VHA Innovators Network (iNET) sites to further the design and develop their innovative solutions.

The event, co-hosted by the Founder Institute and VHA Innovation Ecosystem, also included an exciting keynote speaker and energizing fireside chat and panel.

Torrey Smith, CEO, Endiatx, gave an engaging look at how companies can collaborate to move their innovation forward and demonstrated his incredible technology – a camera in a pill that allows doctors to remotely explore a patient’s stomach. Dr. Ryan Vega, chief officer, Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning, spoke candidly with Dr. Carolyn Clancy, VHA deputy under secretary for health for the Office of Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, about how innovation and collaboration are at the core of everything VA does.

“VA has been breaking boundaries for decades,” said Dr. Clancy. “That includes our 95-year-old research program… to the Innovation Ecosystem. In the past year, this has served us well. VA was way ahead of the curve with telehealth. Breaking boundaries is clearly part of our fabric.”

Allison Amrhein, director of Operations, iNET, followed this up by leading an in-depth panel on how the VHA Innovation Ecosystem is helping VA and outside organizations co-design innovative health care solutions for tomorrow. The panel featured multiple experts, including Ryan Micheletti of Founder Institute, Gina Adams from Wareologie, Dr. Sergio Garcia Vergara of RIF Robotics, and Kathryn Beckner, innovation specialist from the Central Virginia VA Health Care System.

“Collaboration is so important to VA, because just like no patient is the same, no concept is the same. No idea would be fully formed, and no solution fully thought-out without diverse perspectives and collaboration,” said Beckner. “That leads to the best solution for the health care environment and also for the Veteran.”

The 2021 iEX Virtual Series is open to all and presents an exciting way to discover the health care innovations and VA employees that will impact your life. Don’t miss another moment of this exciting virtual series! Register below and you’ll not only be signed up for all 2021 iEX programs but will also gain access to the recordings of the Breaking Boundaries Collaboration Challenge.

Below are the Collab Challenge winners and the lead iNET sites for each one:

Able Innovations

Able Innovations is revolutionizing patient transfers. Today, lateral transfers require 2 – 8 staff to exert back-breaking effort. The ALTA Platform™ enables a single operator to perform these transfers, eliminating the source of numerous injuries while creating a more dignified care experience for patients. Facilities benefit from the ALTA as it improves clinical throughput and reduces incremental costs.

Lead Site: Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital.
Other Sites: Central Virginia VA Health Care System, Orlando VA Healthcare System, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, and San Francisco VA Health Care System.

Cryoscope Medical

CryoScope is developing a medical device for gastroenterologists; surgeons; and ear, nose, and throat doctors to treat patients with esophageal disease without sedation – at 10 percent of the cost of conventional therapies.

Lead Site: VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System.
Other Sites: North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, VA Boston Healthcare System, Charles George VA Medical Center, and VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System.

Leuko Labs Inc.

Leuko Labs is developing PointCheck™, the first device for non-invasive white cell monitoring. PointCheck™ is fast, portable and simple to use. By removing the need for a blood draw, millions of immunosuppressed patients can now be tested more frequently, moving toward improved quality of life and improved clinical outcomes.

Lead Site: North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System.
Other Sites: Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System, and Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

Oath Aging Care

Oath Aging Care is developing a web-based care coordination software for care managers and aging service providers to help Veterans and surviving spouses over the age of 65 navigate the challenges of accessing aging-related benefits and quality services by using advanced analytics to identify benefits and service providers while automating tedious, manual processes.

Lead Site: San Francisco VA Health Care System.
Other Sites: Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, New Mexico VA Health Care System, and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Braze Mobility Inc.

Braze Mobility Inc. is developing a terrain analysis system to help wheelchair users navigate outdoor environments more safely and independently using their proprietary machine learning algorithms that identify hazards.

Lead Site: VA Palo Alto Health Care System.
Other Sites: Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, VA Western Colorado Health Care System, and Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

Stabl

Stabl is developing a digital health platform to help health systems optimize patient postoperative recovery and reduce hospital readmissions with real-time motion feedback and centralized care.

Lead Site: Memphis VA Medical Center.
Other Sites: Orlando VA Healthcare System, Charles George VA Medical Center, and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Cibus Health Inc

Cibus Health is developing a nutrition-focused technology platform for clinicians to support their patients suffering from chronic conditions through a prescribed and personalized nutrition support program. They envision a world where food is “prescribed” just like pills to help patients in the prevention, treatment and management of chronic conditions.

Lead Site: Orlando VA Healthcare System.
Other Sites: Central Virginia VA Health Care System, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System.

Invictus BCI Incorporated

Invictus BCI is developing noninvasive neuroprosthetics that will enable amputees to intuitively control individual fingers on their prosthetic hand. This increased functionality will improve quality of life and independence.

Lead Site: Central Virginia VA Health Care System.
Other Sites: Memphis VA Medical Center, Orlando VA Healthcare System, VA Western Colorado Health Care System, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

Stanley Healthcare

Foresite Mobile Fall Solution, developed by Stanley Healthcare, is a transportable, remote monitoring and alert system to help reduce falls. It utilizes 3D-sensing technology and artificial intelligence to enhance patient safety and fall prevention in acute care facilities.

Lead Site: Charles George VA Medical Center.
Other Sites: Memphis VA Medical Center, Orlando VA Healthcare System, VA Western Colorado Health Care System, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

Your Vesa

Your Vesa utilizes recent advancements in artificial intelligence and natural language processing to create an interactive, intuitive and intelligent health care advocate that goes anywhere you go. Vesa reads medical records, listens to a user’s doctor appointment, and then offers personalized suggestions of actions to take, appointments to schedule, or questions to ask.

Lead Site: VA Western Colorado Health Care System.
Other Sites: Sheridan VA Medical Center and Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

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