Three new Veterans Affairs (VA) employee innovators are joining their fellow Trailblazers as Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) Innovation Fellows. The three new Fellows will utilize VHA IE’s community and resources to expand their innovations’ capabilities. It will also promote their unique innovative visions across VHA and possibly impact how health care functions across the country.
This year’s cohort features two Entrepreneurs in Residence and one Senior Innovation Fellow. The Senior Innovation Fellowship is for mature, large-scale innovation projects that are ready to scale, while the Entrepreneur in Residence is for emerging projects that are ready to be tested for real-world impact.
VHA IE established the Entrepreneur in Residence and Senior Innovation Fellowship programs to build the innovative leaders of tomorrow and to spread mission-driven advances in health care delivery across VHA. These programs offer unique opportunities for emerging and accomplished frontline employees with a dynamic presence, passion for innovation and vision for the future. The program focuses on convening stakeholders, navigating different facets of VHA, Executive level mentorship, driving transformation of health care through specific projects/initiatives, and more. Fellows are given protected time, resources and project management support to equip them with the tools needed to take their project/initiative to the next level.
The results since the VHA IE Fellowship program was started in 2018 have not only impacted the employees who participate but Veterans themselves. With 78 percent of projects being implemented at multiple VHA medical facilities and 38 percent of them spreading across the entire VHA, the impact Fellows’ work has in changing and saving Veteran lives is massive. Not only that, but Innovation Fellows go on to continue to be influential leaders both within and outside of VHA, changing health care for the better. 78 percent of participants have established internal partnerships throughout VA with 67 percent creating external partnerships.
This year’s trailblazing Fellows and their innovations are:
Cory Fominaya, Senior Innovation Fellow (Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Chicago), whose Machine Learning Decision Support utilizes a serverless machine learning solution to audit and intervene on service-related prescription benefits.
Machine Learning Decision Support uses a Deep Learning Algorithm to identify and reduce prescription drug billing errors associated with a service-connected condition. The original project, Utilizing Machine Learning (UML), has already been piloted at 10 VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) and has been proven to be fully scalable at the enterprise level after being selected as 2018 Diffusion of Excellence Fellow. Collectively, the program has corrected 150,000 benefit-related events and collected an additional $1.5 million USD for participating VAMCs. Fominaya will work to develop a cloud-based system to host machine learning\artificial intelligence solutions. The improved tool would be known as Machine Learning Decision Support.
Lindsay Riegler, Entrepreneur in Residence (Cincinnati VA Medical Center), whose Remote Temperature Monitoring utilizes a provider-centric remote patient monitoring for rural Veterans.
Remote Temperature Monitoring (RTM) is a highly successful program that uses specialized mats to remotely monitor Veterans to prevent diabetic foot ulcers. Riegler will continue her work with RTM while maintaining relationships with key stakeholders across VHA to build the infrastructure necessary to scale remote patient monitoring. Objectives include enterprise-wide patient generated health data and remote temperature monitoring guidance documents that allow for collaborative workflow across national program offices.
Priya Joshi, Entrepreneur in Residence (San Francisco VA Health Care System), of the Equitably Preventing Death, Dialysis, and Cardiovascular Disease Using Advanced Analytics, Clinical Decision Support, and a Tele/VVC Support Peer Support Platform.
This project seeks to advance a new solution created by Joshi to create better and more personalized performance metrics for Veterans to help them overcome hypertension and diabetes. Alongside these metrics, the program also works to establish a peer-support network for these Veterans. The innovation has been implemented in some California Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), and through the VHA IE Fellowship Program will be able to pilot further.