U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

12/11/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/11/2023 13:50

Innovation Experience event celebrates another year of transforming Veteran care

The 2023 VHA Innovation Experience (iEX), hosted by VA's Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning (OHIL), brought nearly 700 VA employees, Veterans and industry professionals together to celebrate another year of transforming Veteran care.

Keeping Veterans at the Center of Innovation

Attendees, driven innovators and leaders started the three-day event with representatives from each of OHIL's programs: Innovation Ecosystem, Office of Advanced Manufacturing, Center for Care and Payment Innovation, and SimLEARN.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough recognized VA employees for delivering more care to more Veterans than anytime in VA's history. "We need you thinking big about Veteran-centric care so we can do even better, ensuring Vets have access to the highest quality, world-class, evidence-based care," he said.

During a VA Data Analytics breakout session, OHIL's Director of Data and Analytics Innovation, Dr. Amanda Lineau, summed up the need for innovation-focused programs by emphasizing that, "Connecting those who see the real problem with people who have the skills to solve those problems is core to our success."

VA's most valuable asset-employees

Day two began with a focus on the value that VA employees bring to the table and included a panel discussion on "How Government Innovation Accelerates Industry Impact."

"Everyone has a challenge, and these are wildly different people from very different backgrounds. That's what makes us strong. The who is the community and the where is everywhere," said Allison Amrhein, director of the VHA Innovators Network.

VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal kicked off the VHA Shark Tank Competition, issuing a call to action for everyone to identify barriers and take the necessary actions to address and overcome the problem in the name of improving Veteran care. Elnahal noted how programs such as Shark Tank allow VA to validate innovations that provide a tangible benefit to Veterans.

The competition included pitches on innovative solutions to address VA's health care priorities. The 10 Promising Practice winners now move on to spread their innovations to additional VA facilities.

Inspiring innovation

The Mission Daybreakpanel on VA's top clinical priority, preventing Veteran suicide, reminded us that a culture of innovation to address the most pressing health care challenges faced by Veterans: getting buy-in from everyone involved.

Dr. Carolyn Clancy, assistant under secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, concluded the three-day event by announcing the 2023 Dr. Robert L. Jesse Awards for Excellence in Innovation and inspiring attendees to take what they've learned home.

"Stay curious. I encourage you to apply what you've learned in seeking new ways of envisioning care and services for Veterans. Ask questions and feed your passion for learning and innovation," she said.

The 2023 Innovation Experience welcomed innovators from across the country and showcased how VA continues to advance care for Veterans. Want to learn more about innovation at VA? Visit our website, scan Diffusion Marketplace, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, and explore VA Pathfinder to learn more about our opportunities.