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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


VA Names New Industry Innovation Competition Winners

May 6, 2011

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Pilot Projects Advance Opportunities for Veteran Entrepreneurs, Deploy Health IT for Veterans

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today the second round of awards from the agency’s Industry Innovation Competition to six commercial and non-profit organizations.  Five projects will provide new tools for Veteran entrepreneurs, reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions and streamline clinical coordination in VA hospitals.  

“Continuously evaluating new solutions drives VA’s transformation and helps us deliver better care with responsible cost containment,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki.  “These innovative projects will support Veterans starting a small business, and increase the use of new technology to deliver health care services Veterans have earned.”

The new projects are funded by the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) and designed to improve access, quality of care and Veteran satisfaction while reducing costs.

“VAi2 gives the Department the ability to find new solutions for some of our toughest challenges, and this next round is a promising expansion,” said VAi2 Director Jonah Czerwinski.

An award to Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer, Inc., of Milwaukee, is to launch a business incubator assisting Veterans who choose to start a new business. The incubator will offer business mentors and provide access to office space and other resources that help prepare Veterans for the challenges of launching and growing a successful new business.

The award to Halfaker and Associates, of Arlington, Va., is to produce a virtual, online business accelerator designed to assist Veterans starting new businesses.  The project will provide a collection of online tools and resources, combined with business coaches for hands-on mentoring.  The pilot project will take place in Roanoke, Va., and Philadelphia.    

The award made to Magpie Healthcare, headquartered in Westminster, Colo., gives VA clinicians in Portland, Ore., a quick, easy, secure way to connect to on-call clinical staff automatically and to activate patient care teams faster.  The pilot will assess the impact of new technology on efficiency and collaboration in VA hospitals.

Through an award to DSS, Inc. of Juno Beach, Fla., and TheraDoc of Salt Lake City, a pilot at five VA medical centers in Texas, Missouri and Illinois will use clinical and laboratory data in real time to identify patients at risk of adverse drug reactions and reduce medical complications.

VAi2 made another award in the area of adverse drug effects to the Southwest Research Institute, a not-for-profit group based in San Antonio.  The project will enable clinicians at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center to integrate clinical and laboratory data to predict which patients are at risk of adverse drug reactions. 

VAi2 selects, funds and evaluates new ideas from VA employees, academia and the private sector.  The Industry Innovation Competition is the third VAi2 competition VA has launched and the first to involve the private sector.  The next round of awards will be announced in a few weeks.

The awards announced today result from the 2010 Industry Innovation Competition.   In February, VAi2 launched the 2011 Industry Innovation Competition.  Information is available at www.va.gov/VAi2.

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