This month, I was excited to have the opportunity to moderate a discussion on Federal News Radio with Roger Baker and Aneesh Chopra, discussing the value of health IT.
Both men are well-known and well-respected in the health IT community: Roger is the former Chief Information Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs and current Chief Strategy Officer for technology firm Agilex; Aneesh was the U.S.’ first Chief Technology Officer, and is currently co-founder and Executive VP of Hunch Analytics.
Aneesh is also the author of a new book released this month: “Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government;” I’ve been reading the copy Aneesh kindly signed for me at the taping, and am learning a lot.
During our discussion, Roger and Aneesh agreed that healthcare is one of the most innovative parts of government, and tremendous advances have been made recently with public and private sectors working together.
Both see great possibilities in all the data that’s being collected in EHRs, in claims data, in mobile devices, in wearables, and other systems and devices that are tracking our health.
“All these people, all these sensors,” said Roger. In the future, he wonders if we might get a daily health report along with our daily weather report—“It’s raining today, and if you live in these counties, you might want to avoid people who are sneezing because there’s a flu outbreak in those areas.”
Aneesh envisions what may happen when all the data that’s being collected about each patient comes together in practice support tools—both while you’re at the doctor, and between visits. He calls this “data-driven decision-making.”
To achieve this vision, said Aneesh, “the ability to incorporate information across networks is absolutely essential.”
If Netflix can recommend movies based on the information it’s gathered, he explains, then we should be able to create healthcare systems to recommend individualized steps each person can take to stay healthy.
Roger agreed that information exchange standards are key, adding that patient matching is “vitally important.”
When the conversation turned to patient engagement and Big Data, Roger highlighted the success of Blue Button, a program he played a big part in creating at the VA. The whole theme of Blue Button is “it’s the consumer’s data,” he said. The goal was “freeing the data,” and they discovered that “the most impactful innovations are often those you look at and say, ‘that’s not that hard.’”
We closed the conversation with a “what to expect” discussion for now and the next decade.
The next big breakthrough, said Roger, will be merging science and technology, leading to enormous advances.
“There has never been a better time to be an innovator in healthcare,” said Aneesh, also predicting a decade of incredible innovations and encouraging new graduates to take a good look at this strong sector of the job market.
I hope you’ll tune in to hear the entire fascinating discussion, which is available on-demand by clicking here. I promise you’ll come away enlightened and energized!
And join us June 17-18 in Washington DC for lots of discussions like these at the Government Health IT Conference. Admission is free for federal employees, and also for Veterans (vets please contact Amy Justice). For everyone else, early bird discounts are available through this Friday, May 23rd.