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VA Explores Potential Future Emerging Technology-Centered Acquisitions

As it prepares to potentially purchase novel technologies and training services encompassing modern data- and user-driven approaches, the Veterans Affairs Department released a request for information to learn more about the capabilities that are out there and the best way to buy them.

This document, detailing innovation research and simulation support needs was published by the agency’s Office of Discovery, Education, and Affiliate Networks or DEAN, on Thursday. 

In it, officials list seven tasks, each involving a range of efforts, that VA is exploring potential partnerships to complete.

“The emergence of new technologies in clinical care delivery, such as 3-dimensional printing and virtual reality, represent foundational shifts in health care delivery. To realize the full value of these solutions in an effort to advance clinical care writ large, rapid prototyping, testing, evaluation and integration in the clinical workflow of proven solutions will need to occur more seamlessly, and rapidly, than ever before,” the RFI’s section on the first task—for Emerging Technology to Transform Clinical Care Delivery and Service—reads. “To accomplish this, the Veterans Health Administration will require subject matter expertise, both clinical and scientific, across various disciplines.” 

Under this work, a chosen contractor would need to support the government by performing end-to-end design and clinical integration across various technologies, namely: advanced manufacturing for clinical care, robotic process automation, immersive technologies, precision medicine, remote care, artificial intelligence, application program interfaces, edge computing, 5G technology and blockchain. The idea is that vendors would assist the agency in the design, testing and deployment of these tools inside clinical care delivery settings.

The second task listed in the RFI envelops Advanced Clinical Decision Support and Data-Driven Decision Making in Healthcare. Under it, officials define data-driven decision-making as the use of facts, metrics and data to guide strategic business moves that align with the agency’s goals, objectives, and initiatives. 

“VHA needs to make data-driven decision-making the norm—creating a culture that encourages critical thinking and curiosity,” they wrote. “To accomplish this, the Veterans Health Administration will require subject matter expertise, both clinical and scientific, in the areas such as clinical informatics, data science, and artificial intelligence.”

In this case, the vendor would share subject matter expertise spanning many data analytics platforms. Specific knowledge in digital twins, or virtual representations that serve as real-time digital counterparts of physical objects or processes; synthetic data; internet of things and wearable technologies, among other areas, would be required.

The RFI’s third, fourth and fifth tasks listed involve clinical simulation training, education to enhance emerging technology adoption in health care delivery and simulated modules for clinical and systems optimization. 

Its sixth task is for Next Generation Clinical Education, Training and Simulation

Immersive Training. This type of learning, officials note incorporates the usage of simulated or artificial environments. 

“The contractor will assist the VHA in the design, testing and deployment of clinical training and simulation modules using immersive training environments and technologies in clinical care,” they wrote. “Examples include the use of XR (extended reality) technologies in creating an interactive experience for clinical learners.”

Clinical Care Delivery and Service Transformation through Design Thinking is deemed the seventh task.

“Does your firm currently have in-house emerging healthcare technology scouting capabilities?” the agency asks, among multiple other questions about the services they might have to offer.

Responses from interested contractors are due by May 13.

source: NextGov