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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


“Innovation Initiative” Underway for Health Records Improvements

February 18, 2010

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Shinseki Asks VA Employees To Submit Creative Ideas

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki launched the “Veterans Health IT Innovation Initiative,” an employee-based Health Information Technology (HIT) competition to spur VA’s transformation into a 21st Century organization that is Veteran-centric, results-oriented, and forward-looking.  

“This competition is rooted in the simple belief that the people who work on the front lines of VA know best how to improve health care and quality, access, and transparency in service to our Nation’s Veterans,” said Secretary Shinseki. “At VA, we always want to look for new ways to improve the care we deliver.”

From now until Feb. 28, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Office of Information & Technology (OI&T) government and contract employees can submit their innovative ideas, comment on ideas, and vote on ideas. One hundred of the ideas will be selected and employees will be invited to submit full proposals.  

"We’re looking to bring innovation back to our Health IT systems," said Roger Baker, VA’s Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology. “This initiative will tap into the incredible talent across VHA and OI&T.”

The Innovation Initiative will allow employees to enter health information technology ideas in a variety of categories, such as engaging Veterans in their care, helping medical providers, increasing transparency, and improving workflow.

A series of screening panels will review the suggestions. Assistant Secretary Baker and Dr. Gerald Cross, VA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Health, will select the top 25 ideas. 

"VA's health IT system has always been a collaboration among its community of health care users and a dedicated IT staff,” said Cross. “Many components of our electronic health records system originated in innovations from our health care workforce. This new competition offers employees the opportunity to make VA even more open and effective.”

In September 2009, Shinseki announced a similar competition for the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), encouraging employees to submit ideas on everything from speeding the processing times for disability claims to improving transparency. The winning ideas for the VBA innovation competition will be announced in February. The final selections will receive full funding for project development and execution at the Regional Offices submitting the idea.

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