I’m thrilled to announce our next marquee speaker at BoxWorks, Aneesh Chopra. The former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the White House under President Obama, and a Box special advisor, Aneesh will be speaking about new trends in government and the innovation curve in health care. I recently caught up with Aneesh about his new book, “Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government,” and asked him some questions about the government’s role in innovation and future trends in healthcare.
Missy (MK): Aneesh, you served for three years at the White House. What motivated you to write this book on government and innovation?
Aneesh (AC): I wanted to convey a sense of hope to the American people that we will solve big problems this decade, in part, sparking innovation in how we deliver government services. While I was in office, we wrote a playbook for open government innovation that is applicable at all levels of government and accessible by the private and social sectors of the economy. My new book examines how open government can flourish in this chapter of the Internet economy and how we can tackle our most challenging problems, from economic development to affordable health care through better public/private collaboration. In a recent interview with the Washington Post about the book release, I told the reporter I am focused on 3 sectors of the economy – health care, education and energy -- that could all benefit from opening up data to the American people and encouraging its use. Why these sectors? They undergoing a major shift in their business models that will value new products and services fueled by open data.
MK: With the Open Government Initiative and the successful launch and maturing of Data.gov, is open data really having an impact on the private industry as well making government more accountable and transparent?
AC: For decades the federal government has been collecting data either as a regulator or in the context of service delivery, and for the most part, that data has been difficult for the public to access with the exception of a small group of experts in D.C. Data.gov is the centerpiece of the U.S. government’s open data initiative, with public access to Federal (and through its replication across many levels of government) state and local data to conduct research, build data visualizations, or mashups with private data to fuel new product development. This is a huge milestone for government transparency and accountability. Over the past 5 years, we have shifted the default setting in government from closed to open. We’ve already seen hundreds of products and services born out of Data.gov that have delivered economic value for Americans. The future opportunity here is limitless.
MK: You are a long time healthcare industry expert and spent many years at The Advisory Board Company, a global and research consulting firm for hospitals, before diving into politics. Based on your experience in healthcare what do you think are the top technology trends that are changing the industry today?
AC: I see three clear technology and policy trends emerging in healthcare.
- First, there is a clear line of sight towards payment reform as a direct result of the payment provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Combined with Data.gov and the health IT meaningful use program, we have a real shot at paying doctors based on the quality of care they deliver versus the volume of services they perform.
- Second, cloud platforms are emerging as a viable safe, secure path to facilitate collaboration between providers and patients. You see this with programs like FedRAMP, the government’s attempt to simplify how the federal government approaches security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.
- Finally, and most hopefully, we’re seeing talent migration into healthcare. We’re starting to see people with deep technical backgrounds from other industries, often backed by significant venture capital investments, moving into healthcare to put their expertise to work. This will bode well for the innovation cycle in healthcare.
MK: What's more important to the future of healthcare: mobile, wearables, or security?
AC: The critical goal in healthcare is improving the quality of individual outcomes, and the Holy Grail here is persuade patients to seek the right care at the right time and in the right setting. Putting a technology solution that aggregates a patient's health status by analyzing all their data points (e.g., condition, medications, past procedures) in the hands of an accountable healthcare organization (ACO) can result in proactive outreach to patients before something goes wrong. Prevention or early intervention is the best way to improve quality of care and reduce costs in our healthcare system. As a result, I believe mobile is the most pivotal platform to get all of this done. It's all about reaching patients before it's too late.
At the same time, I think more data is better and that is where the wearable revolution is opening up questions that have never been asked before. For example, to what extent can a patient's heart monitor or blood pressure stats or even activity level predict a future admission? There maybe some skepticism around the clinical value of wearable data at first, but the fact that we are forging ahead to provide more data to caregivers and coordinators is a good thing. As a data source, I feel like wearables will open up new opportunities for predictive analytics.
MK: Can you tell us more about the different paths of innovation in healthcare today and where startups can specialize?
AC: There are two different innovation paths in healthcare. One path is to help physicians render better decisions at the point of care. This is all about helping the provider or clinician make sense of the growing body of healthcare data. Startups have an opportunity to make that experience both useful and engaging. The second path is to focus on how to improve patient management between doctor visits, particularly for chronic disease management. Simply put, we must get better at helping patients manage their conditions when they’re not inside the doctor’s office or hospital. This is where remote monitoring and sensors can also help. There’s a common theme here, though: both paths are about delivering data to a provider or provider organization in a useful, consumable way to help them make a reasonable intervention with a patient at the right time.
MK: In closing, can you tell us what your favorite healthcare app is on your smartphone?
AC: My activity tracker! But I won’t say which one it is. I’m staying neutral and trying them all out. But I track my activity daily.