A revolution in innovation: Machine learning provides focused care for veterans

The Innovation Revolution is a regular series from the VA Innovation Ecosystem. The series focuses on VA employees disrupting the status quo, breaking down barriers, and trying to fundamentally revolutionize veteran care and the employee experience.

How do caregivers make important health care decisions for our veterans? Reactive, understandable, and personalized healthcare is at the forefront of those decisions.

machine learning

Machine learning (ML) helps service providers make smarter decisions by analyzing health data in new and innovative ways.

Using machine learning to audit and influence prescription benefit decisions is the 2017 VHA Shark Tank Gold Status Project that identifies and reduces prescription drug billing errors.

Dr. Corey Fominaya

Dr. Corey Fominaya

Dr. Cory Fominaya, who created and leads the program, is now expanding his capabilities as a Senior Fellow in Innovation in Health Solutions, Population Health.

First Innovation Fellowship

The Veterans Health Management Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) offers several fellowship programs for VA employees. These programs provide unique opportunities for emerging and experienced employees on the front lines with a dynamic presence, a passion for innovation, and a vision for the future.

The Senior Innovation Fellowship is for mature innovation projects ready for expansion. Under a new title, Machine Learning Decision Support (MLDS), Dr. Fominaya has spent the past year developing a cloud-based system that will improve the capabilities of the project. Fominaya’s experience with innovation made him a natural fit for the fellowship.

Machine Learning and Veterans Care

“The value that machine learning brings to our veterans is that it saves doctors time to focus on their patient during their visit,” Fominaya said, when asked about the benefit of machine learning for veterans.

When Fominaya joined Charleston Virginia In 2011, he had to challenge findings and decisions when he started pulling and processing data. “I realized the potential for inconsistencies in medical and pharmaceutical benefits, which could lead to incorrect billing of veterans for joint contributions.”

Turning potential into measurable and sustainable results is why MLDS was created. Doctors often go to great lengths to document the visit. By building a decision support system into the fabric of the EHR, clinicians can shift their focus more toward their patient.”

Fominaya has developed a system to simplify the process and make it more efficient. This system has already been piloted in 10 veterans medical centers and proven to be scalable at the national level. As the fellowship year comes to a close, Dr. Fominaya says the program will help more than one million veterans obtain more accurate and proven benefits.

Investing in the MLDS will also benefit those who are given new benefits for classified disabilities. “I remember a frustrated Charleston veteran who was approved for a refund of $450 two years ago and has yet to be reimbursed. With MLDS, we will be able to step in faster and prevent these fees from happening.”

The Senior Innovation Fellowship for Dr. Fominaya has given new insight into how the VHA innovation ecosystem can drive improved care for the veteran. “The Eco Innovation System’s interest in making sure this solution works has been consistent, and the resources invested have helped the project mature. There is a huge debt of gratitude for their efforts.”

Interested in VHA Fellowships? Learn more about Fellowships webpage. Want to support the innovation revolution in VHA IE? we visited website Learn about opportunities to participate in innovation at VA.

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