Tackling Healthcare Challenges Through Collaborative Innovation

Augmented Reality and 5G

Augmented Reality and 5G

Project Convergence brings “science fiction to life” through its cutting-edge 5G and augmented reality program. NCCHI has created one of the first 5G-enabled hospitals in the world at our home base at VA Palo Alto Healthcare System. This partnership brings cutting-edge wireless health care solutions, including augmented reality for clinical training, presurgical planning and operative guidance. The partnership includes 5G wireless connectivity from Verizon, clinical augmented reality software from Medivis, and HoloLens 2 headsets from Microsoft.

Fall Prevention Projects

In 2015 the cost of fatal and non-fatal falls in the US was approximately $50 billion – and since falls disproportionally impact older adults, it is a particularly important issue for VA to address.

As a result, we have been developing innovative ways to prevent falls and their devastating consequences. NCCHI is collaborating with the medical company Palarum on an exciting project that utilizes their smart integrated sock sensor system to alert nurses when a fall-risk patient attempts to get out of bed. The system is optimized for efficient clinical response and nurses are empowered to be in the right place, at the right time.

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COVID-19 Operational Readiness

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, front-line clinical teams in many parts of the world were overwhelmed, overworked and understaffed. Our NCCHI team proactively sought out advanced tools to optimize VA’s workforce deployment and improve operational agility. Issio is an advanced cloud-based scalable solution that allows us to efficiently float staff to areas where they are most needed. We currently have over 5K employees in the system and are leveraging the analytics insights to enhance our operational readiness.

XPRIZE Alliance to combat COVID-19

Our NCCHI partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation is bringing leading VA innovators next to partners from around the world to develop new ways of combatting COVID-19. VA professionals are engaging with fellow global healthcare leaders to share ideas, present projects, and test solutions to help rapidly scale promising technology for the global pandemic response. As of December 2020, nearly three hundred COVID-19 solutions have been shared, 18 new projects initiated, and 6 completions launched through the alliance.

Through this partnership, we helped to form a Brain Trust around Collective Pandemic Artificial Intelligence. As part of this effort, we joined “AI for Good”, a partnership that fosters solutions and dialogue on the beneficial use of Artificial Intelligence to solve pressing global issues such as COVID-19, and organized a partnership with over 35 sister United Nations agencies.

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AI with DeepMind

In collaboration with Google DeepMind and Google Health, we are studying the clinical applications of machine-learning. The initial work with VA data demonstrated that a Google machine learning algorithm can predict acute kidney injury up to two days before normally detected. This breakthrough offers tremendous potential for early kidney treatment that can reduce or eliminate the devastating consequences of the disease.

Innovative Treatments for ALS and Prostate Cancer

NCCHI has partnered with the U.S Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the fight against ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and prostate cancer, two diseases that have devastating effects on Veteran populations. Our clinical experts, in collaboration with their advanced data scientists, are leveraging LLNL supercomputers to uncover clinical insights from our EHR database that will help us to better understand diagnoses and inform treatments for ALS and prostate cancer.

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Augmented Reality Microscope

The Augmented Reality Microscope (ARM) is an advanced Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality enabled system which is currently programmed to detect prostate and breast cancer on pathology slides as a clinical decision support tool. Our VA NCCHI, the Defense Innovation Unit, and VA Palo Alto Pathology leadership have been collaborating to optimize the performance of this cutting-edge system to better serve our nation’s Veterans.

Smart Cane for the Blind

Safe and independent navigation is one of the biggest challenges for those who are blind or Safe and independent navigation is one of the biggest challenges for those who are blind or visually impaired. Although technological tools are improving, the traditional mobility and orientation tool (i.e., white cane) utilized by those who are blind or visually impaired has not significantly changed since its inception nearly 100 years ago – until now.

NCCHI is collaborating closely with Brian Higgins in the development of an advanced sensor package that attaches to the standard white cane to provide object detection and avoidance beyond the limited capabilities of the cane itself. The sensor package includes a LIDAR sensor, two ultrasonic sensors, and is paired with an iPhone and other feedback tools such as sound and haptics. Brian, a Blind Rehab Specialist at the VA Palo Alto’s Western Blind Rehab Center, is a visually impaired Veteran himself and has been working for decades to innovate solutions to this problem.

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