From 3D printing of PPE to creating RideShare programs for veterans, VA is Mobilizing Innovation Resources to Fight COVID-19

As the nation continues to deal with COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is creating and implementing new innovations to serve our Veterans, and to help them receive care during the pandemic. Through its Innovation Ecosystem, VA employees are able to take local ideas and develop them into national programs, specialized services and critical equipment to help Veterans, families and even front-line workers battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Ryan Vega discusses VA’s culture of innovation and touch on some of these ideas, which have led to developments in 3D printing, care for diabetic Veterans, and a rideshare service that supports VA’s fight against COVID-19:

 

  • VA’s 3D printing network encompasses more than 30 VA sites to test and create 3D designs of medical supplies, including customized personal protective equipment, masks, and ventilators. It also supports VA’s “Fourth Mission” to provide back-up assistance to the country’s public and health care systems during times of crisis.

 

  • VA’s Initiative to End Diabetic Limb Loss at VA, also called Podimetrics, can supply diabetic Veterans with mats that use thermal imaging to measure the temperature of a Veteran’s foot and can detect diabetic foot ulcers up to five weeks sooner. This innovative technology allows Veterans to stay on top of their care from home, reducing unnecessary travel during the pandemic.

 

  • VA’s rideshare service is a Boston VA-based service that has expanded to other VA facilities in select states. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, it has continued to assist homeless Veterans in those communities with access to safe transportation – helping them get to employment opportunities, food and care that they may not otherwise be able to receive without putting themselves and anyone they live with at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) draws in the best and brightest workforce and partners to solve challenges unique to the Veteran community.