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HHS Seeks Innovation Experts for Summit

Analysis  |  By Mandy Roth  
   September 21, 2018

Government's latest foray into innovation will explore transformation and investment landscape.

The fires of innovation are burning brightly these days at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with the launch of new initiatives and recruitment of personnel to lead transformation in value-based care and information technology. The latest development involves creation of a quarterly summit between healthcare innovation and investment professionals and HHS personnel.

This opportunity could be ideal for hospital executives operating at the forefront of healthcare innovation.

Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan is seeking candidates to participate in the Deputy Secretary’s Innovation and Investment Summit (DSIIS), a yearlong collaboration to discuss the innovation and investment landscape within the healthcare sector, emerging opportunities, and the government’s role in facilitating more investment and accelerated innovation. Participants will convene for quarterly meetings.

“Collaboration between HHS and private sector investors and innovators is critical to advancing new solutions and evolving healthcare in America,” said Hargan in a news release. “We believe this will produce new approaches that will improve the health and well-being of the American people. As the healthcare community innovates, HHS must also be innovative in how we engage with that community.”

Recommendations for DSIIS participants:

  • Will be accepted through October 3
  • Must include a resume/CV and a brief description of why the individual would be a good candidate to help deliver on and advance the goals of the DSIIS
  • Should be submitted to with the subject line “DSIIS Recommendation

Quarterly DSIIS meetings will focus on emerging innovation opportunities and whether government policies are accelerating or delaying these innovations. The final gathering will be capped by a comprehensive “Industry Day” gathering.

Innovation appears to be a huge focus for HHS these days. Earlier this year the department launched the Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe), designed to spur innovation in the way the government prevents, detects, and responds to major health security threats. This includes a specific initiative related to sepsis.

DRIVe operates under the auspices of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.  In July, BARDA granted funding to two California-based biotech companies for development of at-home flu tests. In September it announced an award to EnLiSense to accelerate development of a wearable device that detects infections in a person’s sweat.

Additional opportunities exist for entrepreneurs, accelerators and incubators and possibly health systems, to partner with BARDA.

In June Rick A. Bright, PhD, deputy assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response and the director of BARDA, talked with HealthLeaders about the new focus on innovation under his areas of responsibility.

"This is a new approach for government, and for HHS—especially the focus on innovation—to be more business-friendly," Bright said. "It uses a model of acceleration to reach out across the country with new partners to find the best technologies and bring them to the fight to solve some of the largest health security challenges we've faced.

"We want to find ideas, projects, entities, groups, and entrepreneurs who are working to address scientific gaps… [and] we realized that many of the entrepreneurs and innovators are not reading FedBizOps or Grant Solutions or the traditional places where BARDA and most of the government posts their initiatives and funding opportunities," Bright said.

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

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