Wednesday, March 13, 2013

VA Committed to Innovation

The Department of Veterans Affairs launched the VA Center for Innovation (VACI) to build onto the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2). VACI ( announced thirteen new awards from its industry innovation competition that focus on teleaudiology, prosthetic socket redesign, Blue Button, and the sterilization automating process for reusable medical instruments.

An awardee the University of Michigan (U-M) Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center will use the $3.7 million to create a National Kidney Disease Registry to monitor kidney disease among veterans. The Registry is expected to help the VA to care for the more than 10,000 veterans on dialysis with an additional 3,200 veterans estimated to reach kidney failure each year. 

The University of Michigan nephrologist Rajiv Saran, MD, Associate Director of the U-M Kidney Center is the Principal Investigator. She will collaborate with biostatisticians, along with organ transplant and health policy specialists on the project.

Other awards were given to:

  • RemotEAR by Otovation of King of Prussia, PA—to improve audiology services by providing a solution for assessing all audiology services through rehabilitation
  • Technical Feasibility of Smartphone Based Teleaudiology by Phonak of Warrenville, Il—to enable remote programming of hearing aids through a smartphone
  • Remote Audiometry in VA CBOCs, by Audiology, Inc., of Arden Hills MN—to develop an automated audiometer to support personnel in VA facilities
  • Cochlear Implant Programming by Cochlear Americas of Centennial CO—to develop remote programming for cochlear implants
  • Quasi-Passive Prosthetic Socket Technology by MIT—to improve socket fit by using a permanent socket that allows for adjustments to stiffness and reduces the socket movement by using continuous electronic sensors and laminate technology
  • Pro-Active Dynamic Accommodating Prosthetic Socket by Infoscitex of Waltham MA—to create a prosthetic socket with sensors to conform to volume changes as well as changes caused by the gait cycle
  • Socket Optimized for Comfort with Advanced Technology by Florida State University of Tallahassee, FL—to develop a prosthetic socket to better manage changes in volume and pressure and provide active cooling and temperature control
  • Synergetic Improvements for Transfermoral Prosthetic Sockets, by the Ohio Willow Wood Company of Mt. Sterling OH—to create an improved transfermoral suspension and socket system made from polymer materials
  • VA Mobile Blue Button by Agilex Technologies of Chantilly, VA—to allow patients to view and share their VA health data using their mobile devices
  • Blue Button Authentication Field Test Proposal, by Northrop Grumman—to enable veterans to authenticate online to access their medical records
  • Blue Button Extensions Medical Imaging by Ray Group International of Washington D.C.—to enable veterans to view and download their own medical images and  transmit the images to their non-VA physicians
  • Automated Integrated Perioperative Process by GE Global Research of Niskayuna, N.Y—to help the VA develop a fully automated process for sterilizing reusable medical instruments