HHS announces innovation award winners

By John DeGaspari

Winners of this year's 2015 HHS Innovates Awards have created solutions to improve the care of complex surgical patients, break down barriers between medical and community services, and allow states to work together in "cyberteams" to apply quality improvement methods for birth outcomes.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell today announced the seven winners of the annual awards program, which recognizes creative solutions developed by HHS employees in response to some of the nation's most challenging problems in health, healthcare and government. 

The award winners include Peri-Operative Surgical Home, a project by Phoenix Area Indian Health Service's Phoenix Indian Medical Center. It focuses on improving the care of complex surgical patients by creating the processes, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and staff education necessary to safely deliver the highest standard of care to the most challenging patients in a cost effective way.

A platform to reduce infant mortality, co-developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, was also recognized. The platform allows states to engage in collaborative learning together as "cyberteams," apply quality improvement methods, and spread policy and program innovation, which accelerates improvement in strategies that are influencing birth outcomes.

Some of the other winners include:

  • Linking Health Care & Community Services: A learning collaborative of the Administration for Community Living that makes it possible to break down barriers between medical and community services to achieve better care, smarter spending and healthier people.
  • The NIH 3D Print Exchange: An online portal to increase accessibility and exchange of 3D printing files to further scientific research. The tool, developed by the National Institutes of Health, is designed to empower researchers, physicians and models that inspire new discoveries. The exchange includes more than 5,000 3D models that are freely available to the public.
  • Transforming Health Provider Loan Repayment Programs: The reengineering of the National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration has reduced the processing time of 3,200 loan repayment awards by six months and saved more than $3 million in taxpayer dollars since 2013.

HHS continues to take steps to fund health information technology adveancements. In February, the agency announced a two-year grant program for $28 million to advance the adoption and use of interoperable health IT tools and services to support health information exchange.

In addition, the department, in its second round of grants as part of its State Innovation Models Initiative, also awarded more than $665 million to be split among 28 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement