Human communication

Veterans benefit from the flowering of the Greenhouse initiative this spring

The Greenhouse Initiative is a VHA Innovators Network (iNET) opportunity for the healthcare innovation community to collaborate with iNET from the earliest stages of innovation to receive feedback from veterans and employees to inform solutions to improve care for veterans.

Here are the latest Greenhouse participants working closely with frontline employees and VA veterans to develop their innovative solutions.

2022 Collaboration Highlights

LeviSense: LeviSense’s SensorCell Flotation Therapy is a therapy bed system with the goal of preventing pressure-induced sores and ulcers. The very first physical prototype was delivered to Orlando VA in March, where nearly 100 VA employees from diverse backgrounds, veterans and caregivers provided feedback for the next iteration of the prototype.

The prototype also made its way to Louis Stokes Cleveland VA in April for feedback from employees, veterans and caregivers.

“From Cleveland, we came away with a better understanding of the needs and restrictions of VAs around data monitoring and reporting. Again, congratulations to the VA Innovation Ecosystem and the Greenhouse Initiative. This program will help bring the highest level of care to veterans by combining the latest technology with passionate VA caregivers,” said LeviSense Medical Founder Dave Bertoni.

The device tracks medication dispensing activity

Verinetics: Verinetics developed the DispenSecur™ device to increase access to treatment, improve recovery and improve quality of life for patients receiving methadone for opioid use disorder. It gives providers access to a platform that tracks dispensing activity and fosters trust between patients and providers on their journey to recovery.

The DispenSecur device shown contains 13 vials that can hold liquid medication, such as methadone used in opioid treatment programs, or suboxone pills or sublingual strips.

Close-up of the Verinetics DispenSecur™ device

The device keeps track of the bottles, not the contents of the bottles, but the back-end software can be configured to correlate the bottles to their contents. For example, a bottle may contain a dose of liquid methadone or a set of pills, for example, morning painkillers.

The featured device has a built-in 5G radio that communicates with a cloud-based portal. The device communicates dispenser information such as dosing time, device GPS location, remaining drug inventory, etc.

Providers log into the DispenSecur portal where they can view data submitted on all dispensers deployed to veterans and view their medication compliance status. They can explore a specific device or patient and can even send commands to the device to lock and unlock the device. This can be used to force a consultation before more medication can be accessed.

Clinical experts from five iNET sites completed user experience (UX) testing of the software platform, leading to new iterations that better meet clinicians’ needs. Feedback and thoughts on the device itself are now underway, with UX testing by clinicians and veterans alike.

Responding to the Need to Address Communication Barriers for Veterans

AltComm: Four iNET sites are collaborating with AltComm to design a solution that addresses the need for better communication with veterans who have communication barriers (hearing loss, speech impairment, language fluency, etc.).

According to a 2021 executive order, agencies must collaborate with their “respective clients to conduct human-centered design research and document customer experience challenges.” This new collaboration (like all Greenhouse collaborations) is an opportunity for VA to fulfill the President’s mission to improve the customer experience.

Bison Creek: The Bison Creek Trash Tote System is a disposable product that mitigates healthcare associated infections by providing a bedside waste disposal system. This new collaboration will allow employees and veterans of nine iNET locations to perform UX testing for product feedback.

Pioneer of the next generation VR

Unlimited Tomorrow: The George E. Wahlen VA and VA XR networks are collaborating with Unlimited Tomorrow to develop new haptic glove technology. This new glove technology will initially combine with new virtual reality software to provide the most realistic equine therapy experience for veterans who have physical, mental or distance barriers.

In about a year since its inception, the Greenhouse has been an incredibly effective tool for engaging frontline VA staff in the innovation process. VA is just beginning to build this initiative and reap the benefits of the collaborative solutions being developed and the impact on the culture of frontline employees.

Want to get involved?

Do you want to support the innovation revolution of VHA IE? Visit our website to learn more about opportunities to get involved in innovation at VA.