VA Names 6 AI Tech Sprint Winners From Industry; Rafael Fricks Quoted

VA Names 6 AI Tech Sprint Winners From Industry; Rafael Fricks Quoted
Domain-Aware Artificial Intelligence

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded a total of $100,000 to six companies that built artificial intelligence-based information technology applications to help former military personnel manage their health.

The 2020-2021 AI Tech Sprint, hosted by VA’s National Artificial Intelligence Institute, drew 44 participants from the commercial and academic sectors, the department said Monday.

VA plans to conduct further evaluation of winning tools from the three-month prize competition and said it will consider implementing the innovations at pilot sites before a potential nationwide rollout.

“The short timeline and mentoring allow VA to partner with industry leaders without any roadblocks to develop the health care solutions of the future — not just for those giving the care, but those who will benefit from it most,” said Rafael Fricks, lead for the AI Tech Sprint.

Behavidence won the $50,000 grand prize for its smartphone app that works to monitor veterans’ digital behavior patterns and flag users at a higher risk for suicide.

SoKat Consulting, which developed a chatbot that is compatible VA’s Blue Button repository of medical records, secured $25,000 as the second-place winner and General Dynamics Information Technology received the third-place award of $10,000 for a skin lesion classification algorithm.

JumpStartCSR, the HIVE Lab at George Washington University and Ouva won $5,000 each through the sprint. The department is scheduled to start the next round of its AI competition later this year.

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