News

Karen DeSalvo on the Value of Bringing Together Stakeholders to Drive Innovation

STEPS to Value host, Rod Piechowski had the opportunity to interview Karen DeSalvo, MD, former National Coordinator for Health IT about the impact that policy has on the delivery of healthcare and innovations in the ways people, processes, and technologies employed in towards that mission. Here are some excerpts from their conversation (Listen to Karen’s complete interview here) :

Rod Piechowski: Karen, thank you very much for joining us today.

Karen DeSalvo: Rod, thanks for having me. I'm looking forward to the conversation.

Rod: Where in your experience have you seen HIT policy proving to be the most effective?

Karen: It's sort of embedded in the name of the national coordinator that we have a responsibility not only to coordinate across the federal partners but with the private sector. There's a lot of dynamism and innovation in the marketplace, that we want to make sure that we embrace and leave room for as people are planning a long‑term journey ahead. (Health IT Policy) is most effective then when the federal partners and the private sector, and I would include the states in that, have an agreement on the vision and the way forward. That gives the market a sense of stability, and a sense that this is going to be...We're planning the road map for the next number of years, and lets people work towards those goals together.

Rod: I like that you mentioned long‑term journey and innovation in the same answer. Are there any areas that you think we're going to see some really interesting innovation in over the coming years?

Karen: I really hope that there's continued innovation in a space of creating a longitudinal health record for individuals, meaning a better, smarter version of the personal health record that we tried in the past, one that is populated in an automated fashion from all of your visits or encounters with healthcare, and then can layer in your other health information, whether it's from your health tracker, steps tracker, or some sort of food tracker, or even increasingly using geocoding to look at environmental exposure. I certainly have heard so much from people that they want to have a long‑term health record that is inclusive of data points that's more than just that one healthcare system. I certainly know that from a policy standpoint and a public health standpoint, that then also creates an opportunity to blend that data, with consent or anonymized, to paint a picture of communities in a longer‑term fashion and trying to piecemeal together from the healthcare system.