Apply to be the next West Health Institute/HHS Innovator In Residence!

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By Bryan Sivak | On Tue, 07/09/2013 - 12:59pm

Health care is in a state of transformation. Big things are happening – from changing the way health care is paid for, to how health care is managed and experienced – these changes are like nothing we have ever seen before.  In this rapidly changing health care environment, there are huge opportunities for technology to assist in improving care and immense challenges in improving quality of care and reducing costs.  Both health care and government are looking for talented individuals to ensure the goals of health care transformation are ultimately met.  

Which is why I am excited to announce a new opportunity that will push the boundaries of health care and government – from the West Health Institute and the Department of Health and Human Services – the Innovator In Residence (IIR) Program. 

The Innovator In Residence Program with the West Health Institute is a true collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services and the West Health Institute.  The IIR Program is a way to bring new ideas into health care through collaboration on policies and programs on some of the most cutting-edge issues in health care.

The IIR embodies the mission of the West Health Institute – to lower health care costs by developing innovative patient-centered solutions that deliver the right care at the right place at the right time.  The West Health Institute has been pushing the boundaries of health care by conducting innovative medical research, educating key stakeholders and advocating on behalf of patients – some of which the IIR will be expected to do as well.

Last year marked the initial launch of the IIR Program with the West Health Institute and focused on the Blue Button Initiative, the Health Data Consortium Affiliate Program and the Million Hearts Campaign.   In all three areas we saw some significant milestones hit, none bigger than the advancement in the Blue Button Initiative.  Last year’s IIR played a key role in shaping an initiative known as Blue Button Plus – a revolutionary effort to help liberate data from electronic health records and put it in the hands of patients. One aspect of the Blue Button project enhanced the download features from an ASCII text file format, into a standardized format that developers and machines can use in web and mobile applications. The resultant work is opening up development activity for a wide range of commercial development aimed at solving real world health care problems such as avoidance of adverse events, and enhancing medication compliance by patients.

In addition to working within the walls of a federal agency, the IIR has the rare opportunity to work within a non-profit organization and working with a broad coalition of stakeholders who have the same mission. I find this unique blend of government and non-government interactions beneficial for the IIR experience by adding new dimensions toward understanding issues associated with complex systems adaptations that are needed to reshape health care. The IIR presents remarkable opportunity to expand leadership skills, test new ideas and models, and, yes, do hard work!

West Health Institute leadership is looking for someone who will embed themselves in government for one year and use their expertise to take on some of health care’s biggest challenges. Together, we have identified several key areas of consideration for projects that are a base of activities for the IIR experience:

Patient/Consumer Engagement – Driven by Stage 2 Meaningful Use and the adoption and enhancement of electronic health records, work is still needed to align policies, provide incentives, and create prototype technologies that enable consumers/patients to have greater connectivity, better understanding, and enhanced roles in their health care.

Data Transparency – Focusing on developmental work on changes to the policy framework that would enable clinical and administrative data to be used for technology development and new information services and applications are needed. In an effort to promote innovation in the commercial marketplace, enhanced access to data coupled with demonstration projects will be needed to create an enhanced value proposition for the uses of these data.   

Exploratory Uses of Administrative Claims and Clinical Data to Create Analytic and Decision Support Tools - Help establish new business models for innovators to work in an emerging market place using claims and clinic data , evaluate opportunities for clinical prototype testing, advocate for uses of apps and services to be evaluated for new payment models, create best practices for integrating clinical data and administrative data, and determine marketplace incentives that create value from the data applications and services.

From the front lines of reshaping health care to the board room experience with entrepreneurs from all across the health care spectrum, the IIR experience can be an important career step for someone looking to make a difference in tomorrow’s health care.

I encourage anyone who wants to come into government to change and push health care forward to the next level to apply to this exciting opportunity.

More information on the West Health Institute can be found at

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