HHS Announces Innovation Winners

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday announced the six winners of innovation awards in the first cycle of the HHSinnovates program, which is aimed at supporting a “culture of innovation” in one of the federal government’s largest departments.

“We launched the HHSinnovates awards program this year because we recognize that innovation is the lifeblood of continual improvement in our Department’s performance in serving Americans,” Sebelius said. “I am proud of all the candidate innovations that were nominated in this first cycle, and I thank all the employees who took part in reviewing and voting for the winners. I look forward to making HHSinnovates a permanent feature of the HHS landscape.”

In response to an open request for innovation candidates last spring, 126 innovations from all HHS operating divisions were submitted. HHS employees were invited to vote for best innovations, and employees cast nearly 10,000 votes. Participants were judged on innovativeness and potential for application elsewhere in HHS and government.

The winners announced yesterday are the top six selected through the employees’ votes. From these six, Sebelius chose the top three, which include National Collaboration on Childhood Obesity Research, a public-private collaborative was formed to help steer research on the epidemic of childhood obesity; Text4Baby, which provides free information about pre-natal and post-natal care via cellphones; and Purchasing Online Tracking System, an electronic procurement process and requisition management system that enables NIH to request and track orders throughout the purchasing cycle, reducing errors and delays and reducing burden for staff.

“The president has consistently challenged our front-line workers to help deliver a government that works, and thanks to the HHSinnovates program, we have a novel, open process to reward those who are doing just that,” said Aneesh Chopra, federal chief technology officer. “I commend HHS and Secretary Sebelius for setting a great example, as this administration continues to work toward new heights of openness and creativity.”

All six winning teams participated in a briefing on their projects with Sebelius, HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr and HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park.

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