VA creates National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new center located in Silicon Valley to foster collaboration with technology companies to develop innovative healthcare solutions.

The National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation (NCCHI), a pilot established within the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, will focus on artificial intelligence, clinical decision support and workflow efficiencies as initial priorities.

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Currently, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System is looking to bring into clinical use an AI system developed by vendor DeepMind that forecasts the presence of acute kidney injury in patients early enough so clinicians can intervene to prevent deterioration.

“The NCCHI is an important part of our strategy to be leaders in healthcare innovation and quality,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a written statement. “The center is particularly exciting because it is uniquely designed as a catalyst to combine strengths from non-healthcare fields.”

Over the past few years, the VA has been working with commercial software developers to give them access to tools for building mobile and web apps on a standard set of application programming interfaces.

Dozens of apps have been developed in several categories: health management, healthcare team communication, health information sharing, as well as mental health and quality of life improvement.

According to the VA, the goal of the new center within the VA Palo Alto Health Care System is to “advance veteran healthcare services with cutting edge technology” that can be shared “broadly for the benefit of many more patients.”

To create an environment at NCCHI conducive to technological innovation, the VA says an infrastructure is “being built for efficient communication, collaboration and engagement to support current and future development work.”

The agency contends that the “process, procedures and operational tools developed at NCCHI will be a foundation to efficiently support similar work” throughout the VA.

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