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HSR&D Investigator Achieves 2019 VHA Shark Tank Competition Gold Status!

November 12, 2019

Daniel Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc

Daniel Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc

See also: Study raises new warnings about frail surgery patients

Congratulations to Daniel Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc – a VA surgeon and core investigator with HSR&D’s Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion (CHERP) – whose promising practice was awarded Gold Status in the Diffusion of Excellence Shark Tank Competition!

Fifteen Shark Tank finalists’ promising practices competed at the VHA Innovation Experience conference that was held from October 22-23, 2019 in Washington, DC. A former HSR&D Career Development Awardee, Dr. Hall’s research focuses on improving the decision-making and pre-operative care of frail patients scheduled for elective surgery. Dr. Hall’s HSR&D and RR&D funded pilot studies showed that "prehabilitation" (interventions before surgery) has the potential to improve surgical outcomes among the frail. Dr. Hall’s Gold Status project features a highly effective clinical tool to screen frail elderly Veterans before they have surgery. At the Omaha VA Medical Center, the tool triggered administrative review of frail patients considering surgery, and mortality rate among the frail dropped from 25% to 8%. The screening tool has subsequently been implemented at VA Medical Centers in Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Palo Alto. In each case, the screening tool elicits a “pause” for frail patients during which a variety of interventions are deployed – all aimed at improving care. In response to Dr. Hall’s Shark Tank pitch, plans are emerging to implement frailty screening at VA centers across VISN 4, and in Iowa City, IA, Gainesville, FL, Lexington, VA, and Ann Arbor, MI.

“This is a chance for all our employees – out there doing incredible work through the Innovation Ecosystem – to demonstrate innovation in action, and, ultimately, how VHA is changing and saving Veterans lives,” said Dr. Ryan Vega, Director, VHA Innovation Ecosystem. “VHA is at the forefront and leading change in healthcare, and this is a chance for both Veterans and the public to see what and how we’re doing it and the impact we’re achieving.”

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