VA seeks toolkit to gauge health risks of veterans

VA seeks toolkit to gauge health risks of veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to develop a toolkit that would make it easier for health care clinical experts to add features to an online assessment platform that gauges the risk of VA patients to various diseases.

The tool would enable VA clinicians to enhance the department’s HealtheLiving Assessment, an online questionnaire that collect health information from veterans, including their health history and lifestyle habits, as a baseline for future treatment plans. 

The current assessment features a proprietary metric called Health Age, which summarizes a user's biological age based on personal and family history and current health behaviors. A health age older than one’s chronological age indicates a shortened life span and opportunity for making health care changes, the notice said.

Now the VA wants to develop a “decision support technology platform,” with a set of core clinical features including questions, algorithms and calculations needed for building out the online risk assessment questionnaire.

Responses to the online questions would be used to generate more sophisticated reports on disease risk calculations for patients with heart disease, diabetes or cancer, as well as recommendations for improving health.  The toolkit would also facilitate development of scoring algorithms to produce graphics and illustrations of individual health behaviors in the areas of diet, physical activity, stress management, overall well-being, alcohol use, tobacco use and safety.

The models would break down risk assessment further, to include a total percentage of disease risk, the percentage of risk that is “changeable with health behavior modifications” and the risk percentage that is not. Risk percentages would also be projected forward in intervals of 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years, depending on the age of the user.

The VA, which has issued a request for information soliciting industry feedback about the project, said it also wants the ability to rapidly deploy the decision support applications across all digital and mobile devices used by the department.

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