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Hackathon Fan Andrea Ippolito Shares the Opportunities for Innovation at the VA

September 15, 2017


Innovation has come slowly to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, but the largest single healthcare system in the US is seeing the flow of new ideas on the rise. The increase can be connected to the creation of internal entities like the VA Innovators Network at the VA Center for Innovation that work to develop new ideas to improve care and connection for veterans and their families. Andrea Ippolito leads this network, bringing to bear years of experience in Medtech, academia, and healthcare start-ups. In this effort, she shares where the VA looks for innovative ideas to revamp care at this essential healthcare provider. Ippolito says the VA’s single-payer setup presents an intriguing opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators trying to measure the impact of new technologies and techniques. In this interview, Ippolito explains how VA employees are encouraged to work with veterans to identify new approaches or technologies that can streamline care. “We encourage employees to work with veterans to help design their solutions,” Ippolito says. The efforts have generated significant cost savings for the VA. Ippolito speaks to the value of Hackathons, an effort she came to know well as she served as co-director of MIT’s “Hacking Medicine” program. Ippolito has held many other posts including a stint as innovation specialist at the Brigham Innovation Hub and as product innovation manager at athenahealth.


andrea Ippolito

VA Innovators Network Lead

VA Center for Innovation, Department of Veterans Affairs

Andrea Ippolito leads the VA Innovators Network within the VA Center for Innovation. In this capacity, she designed and oversaw the creation of a program that provides resources to VA employees to develop innovations that improve the experience of our Veterans. The Innovators Network includes Innovation Specialists at 32 VA Medical Centers. She recently completed her role as a Presidential Innovation Fellow working . Ms. Ippolito has pursued doctoral studies in Engineering Systems at MIT and is the Co-Founder of an innovative application that improves access to care called Smart Scheduling (acquired by athenahealth in 2016). She also previously served as the Co-Director of MIT’s “Hacking Medicine” program, as an Innovation Specialist at the Brigham Innovation Hub and as Product Innovation Manager at athenahealth. Ms. Ippolito completed her MS in Engineering & Management at MIT. Prior to MIT, Ms. Ippolito worked within the Corpor ate Technology Development at Boston Scientific.

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Healthegy Contributing Host Stephen Krupa is CEO of Healthedge, a software company focused on providing next-generation, business-transforming technology products to the healthcare payor market.

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