Federal Manager's Daily Report

The VA, holding extensive data about veterans’ health but lacking the computer capacity to put that information to its best use, has partnered with the Energy Department to enable specialized research in areas such as suicide prevention, cancer and heart disease.

“The effort will leverage the latest DoE expertise and technologies in big data, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing to identify trends that will support the development of new treatments and preventive strategies,” according to the announcement from the VA.

The project will use data from the VA and other federal sources, the announcement said. From the VA, that will include data from its genomics program, in which more than 560,000 veteran volunteers have provided DNA samples, completed surveys about their health, lifestyle and military experiences, and granted secure access to their electronic health records for research purposes.

The other sources will include health data from the DoD, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the CDC.

One planned study will seek to personalized risk scores for suicide, information that VA clinicians and researchers could use to identify patients at the highest risk and to evaluate prevention strategies, the VA said. Others will explore ways to identify whether tumors require treatment and risk factors for certain forms of cardiovascular disease.