Health IT

Weight loss simulator, hand-held counterfeit drug detector among HHS’ best innovations

FDA counterfeit drug device

In an effort to showcase that government entities are doing what they can to encourage innovation too, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is inviting the public to review and choose the most practical of six creative products, services and campaigns developed by its employees.

The contest, called HHSinnovates, is in its sixth cycle, but this is only the second time it’s opened voting on the six finalists to the public. Launched in the spring of 2010 as part of HHS’s open government efforts, the challenge invites HHS personnel to submit innovations they’ve developed to address healthcare challenges that could be scaled and applied to other parts of government.

One of the finalists is a hand-held counterfeit detection device created by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Forensic Chemistry Center. It uses different wavelengths of light to spot suspected counterfeit drugs in real time. It’s already used in an FDA laboratory, international mail facilities and import centers.


Another project up for voting is a collaboration between the Administration for Community Living’s Aging Network and the National Institutes of Health-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers that links Alzheimer’s researchers with volunteers for clinical trials. According to HHS, the program has succeeded in connecting more individuals to ACL’s services and boosted its pool of research participants by 25 percent.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ Body Weight Simulator, an online tool that predicts body fat and metabolism changes that occur during a diet or exercise intervention, is also up for voting.

The public is invited to vote on the innovations through this Friday. The People’s Choice and Secretary’s Picks winners will be announced during a ceremony on March 10.

[Photo from FDA]

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