Thursday morning, I took a break from business, politics and life to catch the “Bisnow” presentation at Fairview Park Marriott. The speaker was our own Aneesh Chopra.
A product of NoVa’s awesome tech community, Aneesh was the Secretary of Technology under Governor Kaine. In 2008, he became one of President Obama’s first hires as the Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. government. As CTO, his sole focus is making government more open and efficient through the uses of technology. In that respect, he reports directly to the President.
The discussion on Thursday a.m. was about health care, specifically the digitization of health information. When the whole world is going electronic, less than 20% of health records are being stored digitally. That’s pathetic and a recipe for inefficiency.
With Aneesh was the CTO for Kaiser Permanente and the head of DOD’s technology wing, which has recently succeeded in putting all the Veterans’ Adminstration records on-line. (If a Federal agency can do it …)
Aneesh said that data is the rocket fuel for business in the 21st century. Nowhere is that more clear than in health care, where billions are wasted in duplicative or unnecessary procedures, medications, etc. Better information = better outcomes = less money wasted on emergency care.
One of the positive aspects of the ACA — which has gone largely unmentioned — is the pressure it puts on the medical industry to upload information and make it portable for their customers, especially those entering the “exchanges,” while still keeping necessary confidentiality. I give the White House full credit for making this a priority reform.
While I’m not in the health care field (and get nervous just being in hospitals), I do know that our nation’s health care will be better for leaders like Aneesh getting involved.