NVTC’s inaugural Capital Health Tech Summit took place on June 15, 2017 at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax, Va. Scroll down to view Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Don Rucker’s full Capital Health Tech Summit keynote presentation video.
Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Don Rucker provided the Summit’s closing keynote. Dr. Rucker shared ONC’s focus on usability and interoperability to improve healthcare delivery. He also shared how ONC is collaborating with other agencies to make process improvements and open up APIs to fuel innovation, especially in mobile health, to ensure devices are able to communicate with each other.
NVTC’s newest blog is by Dovel Technologies Vice President Mike Atassi. Atassi recently moderated the healthcare data analytics panel at the inaugural Capital Health Tech Summit on June 15, 2017. Scroll below for full video of the panel.
Data is being generated at unprecedented levels – with more than 2.5 quintillion bytes being created every day. Unlocking the potential value of this data will help accelerate research, develop targeted therapeutics and improve the delivery of healthcare. Today’s information and computational sciences and technologies are playing a critical role in delivering better healthcare to everyone.
Accelerating the path to discovery and finding targeted therapeutics to address some of the most chronic diseases is a promise that can be largely fulfilled with exploiting available data. Whereas primary investigation has been the most important source for generating data and discoveries, today we see how data scientists are curating existing data to make it searchable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
A panel of experts discussed the role of data analytics in the continuum of health at the recent NVTC Capital Health Tech Summitandprovided valuable lessons on how to protect, govern, and transform data into valuable information and health insights. The panelists discussed different ways to enable health data to be searchable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Key themes from the discussion included:
Building a data-rich infrastructure: Incorporating genomic and proteomic data into clinical delivery is a challenge that is being met with innovation in technology and information architecture, transforming large, disparate data sets into consumable, actionable packages.
Utilizing advancing technologies: Deploying machine learning and predictive analytics alongside data, processes, and the workflows that already exist within hospitals can help to predict and prescribe new protocols. For example, the use of predictive analytics and machine learning resulted in a 39 percent reduction in patient falls in just six months at a local hospital.
Improving wellness: Enabling the delivery of integrated wellness, disease management, and healthcare services to the community based on insights from data. For example, data analytics is playing a key role in improving the effectiveness and global efficiency of transfusion medicine and cellular therapeutics.
Reducing risks: Helping to prevent the spread of major diseases, such as the Zika virus, by integrating datasets from multiple sources to identify geographic risk patterns. Data also allows for the benchmarking of activities to guide decisions that will make sure that the right person gets the right treatment at the right time.
Preparing a new generation of data scientists: Bringing together interdisciplinary individuals with domain and technology expertise to develop leading public health and precision medicine professionals. Today, many institutions of higher education are offering advanced degrees in data sciences – combining the knowledge of biological sciences with computational and mathematical sciences to provide a generation of data scientist capable of unlocking values hidden in large and complex data systems. Data scientists today are already showing tremendous progress in biomedical computing in terms of developing meaningful solutions for analytics, visualization, as well as data management and governance.
With these advances, real challenges remain with limitations raised by ethical, legal, procedural and even technological constraints. In order to successfully meet these challenges, the industry must use a sound foundation of proven techniques and processes to ensure predicable results. However, the continued convergence and collaboration of biomedical sciences and technologies – along with increased demand for precision healthcare – will provide the impetus to meet these challenges and deliver real breakthroughs for better health.
View full video from the panel:
The panel discussion was moderated by Mike Atassi, Vice President, Dovel Technologies and was comprised of Aaron Black, Chief Data Officer, Inova Translational Medicine Institute; Dr. Abigail Flower, Lecturer, Department of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Virginia; Chris Ghion, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Adventist HealthCare; and Dr. Barbee I. Whitaker, Senior Director, Department of Research, AABB.
Is your organization considering a transition to the cloud? Or is your company already making the switch? You’ll want to read this new guest blog post by Tom Tapley, senior consultant in the Systems Development group at LMI.
Every technology wave requires people to develop new skill sets. Tomorrow’s job titles have not been invented yet. So when a government agency decides to move computing to the cloud, it sets off a chain reaction of changes for everyone in that agency who works with technology. “Moving to the cloud” may sound like a technology project, but it is just as much about training people.
In many agencies, teams of people procure and maintain servers, routers, switches and related hardware. These employees are experts in making machines run smoothly, quickly and reliably. Days are spent physically configuring servers in data centers.
With cloud computing, hands-on skill sets are no longer needed; they become the responsibility of cloud service providers. The servers, racks, and air-conditioned space, which may have been in government properties, will be empty and the space repurposed.
Now agency employees need training to monitor and manage the cloud, using scripts rather than screwdrivers. In the past, there may have been a division between those who coded and those who ran server operations. Those roles are becoming more and more integrated.
Planning for Migration with a Cloud Adoption Framework
A government agency may better prepare for cloud migration by spending more time planning. LMI has developed a Cloud Adoption Framework with four steps: Decide, Prepare, Implement, and Improve. The phase that most often is overlooked is Prepare, and it’s not difficult to see the difficulties that arise when this happens.
Signs an Agency Has Skipped Planning
Here are signs an agency needs to spend more time preparing before engaging in cloud projects:
An agency only hires vendors who migrate data. Many cloud vendors have refined the process of migrating data and applications efficiently. However, if they don’t bring any expertise in enterprise architecture, they may just be moving data and applications in a piecemeal fashion, which creates system lag times as connections become more tenuous (some hosted onsite, while others are hosted in the cloud).
No clear path for cloud migration. In 2010, a Cloud First policy was announced for the federal government. Many agencies tackled easier migration projects, such as switching to Google Mail. After that, they were stuck. They didn’t have a clear idea of what to migrate next and had no model for evaluating what to move or how to gauge the impact of moving different IT assets.
Employee resistance. If employees fear their jobs will change or be eliminated, it is possible they will not provide the most accurate information about the necessity or benefits of the cloud. However, if it is clear employees will be supported as they shift to a new model, it is far more likely they will become allies in efforts to eliminate inefficiencies.
Cloud Migration Improves IT Roles
Managing how employee skill sets will change often is not part of cloud migration planning at the enterprise level. But if employees are engaged in a change management process and it is clearly communicated how cloud will make their work more satisfying, the agency accrues major benefits.
Increased agility: In the past, a sudden need for increased processing power kicked off a complicated procurement process, which involved getting buy-in for budgets, as well as provisioning and cloning servers. With cloud computing, the employee runs a script to create one or a thousand new servers. If the need for increased power lasts for a short time, the employee just reduces requests for cloud services. No more physical servers take up space.
Less time spent on overextended systems: Most government agencies have systems running on old technology (they may even have code from the time of mainframes). Old code is wrapped in newer code, like a ball of yarn, and new systems are interacting with it. A team might want to migrate one piece to the cloud, but first must disentangle all the pieces. A project manager might estimate a cloud migration costs $25 million only to find that it is so interconnected with other systems that the true cost of the project is more like $100 million. It is critical agencies pull in employee expertise to gain a comprehensive view of systems to ensure cost effective cloud migrations. Employees often know what not to migrate, what should be shut down, and what needs to be built afresh. Most importantly, with cloud services they may focus on building new and strong applications, instead of maintaining outdated ones.
More in-demand skills: Learning how to manage the cloud has huge benefit for employees, since cloud-related skills are in high demand. But if agencies skip the workforce analysis piece and do not cultivate their workforce to take over cloud management, sooner or later they will find they cannot afford to hire new people with necessary IT skills.
Tom Tapley is a senior consultant in LMI’s Systems Development group. Since joining LMI in 1998, he has performed work for several clients including the U.S. Postal Service, GSA Public Buildings Service, GSA Federal Technology Service, U.S. Army and Defense Logistics Agency. Tapley came to LMI after nine years with the Maryland Department of the Environment, where he managed the department’s Geographic Information System and Computer Modeling Division. Tapley has an M.S .in computer systems management from the University of Maryland University College and a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Florida in physical geography.
To learn more about cloud strategy, planning, and workforce readiness, please email email@example.com.
We continue to share content from our inaugural Capital Health Tech Summit that took place on June 15, 2017 at the Inova Center for Personalized Health. Scroll down to view Senator Tim Kaine’s full Capital Health Tech Summit keynote presentation video.
Senator Tim Kaine opened the morning session with a discussion on healthcare reform, highlighting the lasting role technologies like telehealth, personalized medicine and genomics will play in making healthcare delivery more efficient and improving health outcomes over the long term. According to Sen. Kaine, tech will be integral in fueling the healthcare shift from treatment to wellness.
Sen. Kaine discussed how healthcare reform also requires addressing workforce and higher education gaps in in the technology sector today and how Northern Virginia has a unique advantage addressing these gaps with its top universities and innovative companies.
The Greater Washington region, including Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, is the nation’s cybersecurity capital, with a unique set of cybersecurity assets and opportunities that no other region in the world can match. To highlight and position the region’s stance as a cybersecurity leader, Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) has partnered with Monster Government Solutions to create the www.CyberCapital.us microsite which reflects the region’s unmatched cybersecurity capabilities in talent, funding and regional resources.
Greater Washington has the highest geographical density of cybersecurity workers in the country, with 84,000 currently employed cybersecurity workers across the region. Despite that, we still have over 46,000 cybersecurity openings left to fill. This further supports the NVTC member survey responses indicating that over half experience difficulty staffing cybersecurity openings.
In 2016, companies with cybersecurity offerings raised $216 million in venture capital funding across Greater Washington. The region has a thriving cybersecurity incubator and investor community highlighted by organizations like In-Q-Tel, MACH37 and Carlyle Group.
In addition to being the seat of federal government and the source of national cybersecurity policymaking, our region has unparalleled cybersecurity resources including the U.S. Cyber Command in Ft. Meade, DARPA and strong research infrastructure through top universities in all three jurisdictions.
Our hope is that this site will help build awareness of Greater Washington as the nation’s leading cybersecurity hub, with an experienced, educated workforce and opportunities for both cybersecurity practitioners and businesses looking to tap into our deep pool of talent and resources.
NVTC is working on behalf of the Greater Washington technology community to accelerate and promote cybersecurity growth. In November 2016, we hosted our inaugural Capital Cybersecurity Summit and will be hosting the second annual Capital Cyber Summit on November 14 and 15, 2017.
We’ve also launched a Tech Talent Initiative to address the workforce challenges of NVTC members and the Greater Washington technology community in crucial areas like cybersecurity, data analytics and software development.
NVTC is delighted to be partnering with Monster Government Solutions on this new resource to promote Greater Washington’s dynamic cybersecurity ecosystem. Visit www.cybercapital.us for the latest cybersecurity statistics, as well as links to regional resources and cybersecurity job openings.
July 6th, 2017 | Posted by Alexa Magdalenski in Techtopia - (Comments Off)
For more than 16 years, the NVTC Techtopia Map has branded Northern Virginia and the National Capital Region as a premiere technology corridor.
NVTC is excited to share that the 2017 Techtopia Map is currently featured in a two-page spread in the July 2017 issue of Washingtonian on pages 48 and 49. Get your copy on newsstands now! The map is also available in the digital version of Washingtonian for subscribers.
In addition to the 2017 Main Techtopia Map and new this year, NVTC premiered three industry-specific maps (click to view):
The 2017 Techtopia Map is also featured in the Summer 2017 issue of NVTC’s The Voice of Technology Magazine. Techtopia Maps will also continue to be distributed at NVTC and industry events throughout the year.
Ensure that your company is represented among other key players in the technology community! Learn more about getting on NVTC’s 2018 Techtopia Map by emailing Yolanda Lee.
We continue to share content from our inaugural Capital Health Tech Summit that took place on June 15, 2017 at the Inova Center for Personalized Health. Scroll down to view UVA’s Dr. Richard Shannon full Capital Health Tech Summit keynote presentation video and presentation slides.
The 2017 Capital Health Tech Summit was headlined by three top keynotes: Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Don Rucker and University of Virginia Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Richard Shannon.
In the second Summit keynote, Dr. Shannon emphasized the importance of process improvement in advancing health outcomes and shifting emphasis in healthcare from treatment to wellness and prevention. Dr. Shannon described how technology will be transformative in this process and shared examples of how UVA is implementing new technologies like remote patient monitoring to improve infrastructure burdens and embedded IoT technologies in ambulances to accelerate treatment time.
Dr. Shannon closed his keynote stressing the significance of cross-collaboration among health systems, universities and the private sector to fuel health innovation and improve health outcomes.
View Dr. Shannon’s full keynote below:
Click here to view Dr. Shannon’s presentation slides.
Stay tuned here on the NVTC blog for more exclusive Capital Health Tech Summit content!
In Asurion’s new member blog post, Senior Vice President of Retail Application Delivery and Voice Services Sean Nassdiscusses embracing new product development models rooted in collaboration and focused on outcomes. A global leader of connected life services, Asurion partners with leading wireless carriers, retailers and pay-tv providers to provide consumers with protection and premium tech help supporting mobile phones, consumer electronics and home appliances.
There is a big shift in how technology companies are going about business.
Many are pivoting from a process-and project-based strategy to one that is more forward-thinking. Team members are crossing boundaries, blurring the lines of previous structures and coming together in the spirit of collaboration to deliver outcomes that exceed customer expectations.
In the old model of business, the technology focus was on delivering large projects using project managers and a pool of resources, defining and limiting capacity. Instead of focusing on an outcome, teams would get together and create big requirement documents with minute details that would bog down capacity, forcing a project through months of work and still frequently achieving a result that was somehow different from how it was initially envisioned. Opportunity costs were often lost under this old model of product development.
Now businesses are pivoting, with a more forward-thinking attitude in mind. At Asurion, we recently built what we call journey teams, individuals across key sectors of our business who come together to optimize the speed with which a project achieves its desired outcome and experience for consumers. As part of this shift, we merged product, design, technology and customer experience teams to optimize the process with the project’s outcome in mind rather than focus on the process itself. The days of separate “product” and “IT” silos are behind us. We’ve combined product, design and technology teams and have empowered them to ask the question “How do we focus on what’s best for the consumer experience?”
Take the claim process as an example. Under previous models, a customer’s claim would pass through various workflows, often with redundant or unnecessary steps that may not have been a great experience for the customer. Under our journey team model, we dedicated product, technology and design leads to focus on an outcome that equates to a positive customer experience. This mentality leads to faster time to market and less waste in resource capacity, and allows our team members the ability to innovate in a rapid fashion. More importantly, the customer has a really positive experience.
We don’t tell our journey teams what to do or how to do it – instead, they innovate and test ideas and are empowered to make decisions on their own, all with this singular goal of improving consumer experience. The journey teams put together a vision based on a desired outcome, a vision that nails down what is going to work and what isn’t to drive improvements in speed, reliability and efficiency of a product’s delivery.
The shift has opened up new channels of communication and new ways of interacting across teams, even to the point of how we collocate in our workspace. We have seen a radical change in the quality of our intercommunications because people are developing prototypes, conducting tests and not working off huge requirement documents.
Our goal is to create a seamless integration of product, technology and design that optimizes the experience for our customers.
It hasn’t all been easy, but progress doesn’t occur without change. We certainly can’t transform all teams into this model at once. However, with patience and modeling teams’ successes, we are seeing increases in quality and speed, and the enthusiasm of the teams is amazing. They are so engaged because they see a direct correlation in their work and how it dramatically improves a customer interaction. There’s more alignment among product, technology and client services than we’ve ever seen before. If you are thinking of trying something similar in your offices, I recommend forming a shared goal, a shared alignment across all teams and placing the focus on future growth. Your efficiency and product development and delivery will improve, and that’s what everyone is looking for, after all.
NVTC’s latest guest blog post is by Stefano Migliorisi, CEO and founder of swyMed, a provider of patented technology that expands telemedicine care to places where it was previously unavailable, powering truly mobile exceptional-quality live video encounters, even at the lowest bandwidths. Migliorisi participated on the Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring Panel at the Capital Health Tech Summit on June 15. View full video from the panel below.
Telemedicine allows patients and doctors to connect over a distance. The industry has been growing tremendously, with the U.S. market valued at $4.9 billion in 2015 and projected to reach $6.7 billion in 2020. Others estimate the sector is significantly larger, depending on which technologies are included and how much of the infrastructure and staffing/services are included in the definition of telehealth, but the one constant is the trend of explosive growth.
In many rural and underserved areas, specialists are in short supply; just getting to the doctor’s office, which is far away in a larger city, and back home again can take an entire day. Instead, telemedicine allows a patient to remain at a local clinic for a virtual visit with the same physician, which is considerably less time consuming and more economical both for patients and healthcare providers.
Telemedicine enables specialists to “beam” themselves into underserved communities via a broadband internet connection, and can have a transformative impact on reducing cost, improving patient compliance and improving outcomes. However, many regions across the country still lack broadband Internet connections sufficient to deliver quality care virtually.
Regardless of whether patients are logging in on their home computers, data-enabled smartphones, or wireless tablet devices, one thing is generally needed: a reliable high-speed Internet connection. We typically think of this as a challenge in rural areas, but a similar dynamic plays out in urban environments, where networks can become congested.
Telemedicine has been effective in helping patients to better manage chronic conditions. Advances in home health care have made it possible for patients to connect with their healthcare providers from the comfort of their living rooms, improving rates for follow-up visits and treatment regimen compliance. Digital devices such as pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors and scales can automatically send data from a patient’s home to a care manager’s desktop, where he or she can monitor the patient’s status, prioritize interventions and initiate an audio-video call where follow-up is warranted. This technology has proven particularly successful for treating chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Similar data has emerged from skilled nursing facilities (SNF) where it has been demonstrated that patient well-being and outcomes are improved, transports to the emergency room (ER) reduced and total system costs lowered dramatically by establishing a telemedicine link between the SNF and the ER. This is particularly valuable during nights and weekends, when the SNF is less likely to have a staff doctor available. Having click to call access to a local ER, allows the patient to receive a consultation, the SNF staff to have confidence that the patient is getting the appropriate level of care, and more often than not avoids a transfer to the ER which has significant cost and staffing implications for the SNF, the ER and the health care system as a whole.
Connectivity Remains a Challenge to Telemedicine
It has been estimated that 70% of face-to-face medical encounters COULD be delivered as telemedicine encounters. As more and more potential applications of the technology are piloted and evaluated, connectivity and reliability are emerging as critical factors to overcome before virtual video care can be relied upon as a primary channel to deliver care.
* Connectivity – Telemedicine relies on Internet connectivity to function, but the same rural regions tend to have the largest physician shortages and the most barriers to Internet access. The lack of broadband infrastructure impedes both real-time services such as video visits and store-and-forward technologies, leaving a gap in coverage for patients in these areas.
* Reliability – Telemedicine requires uninterrupted connections to prevent missed instructions or possible patient mismanagement. If systems are not reliable, or need to be restarted several times in the course of a patient encounter, trust in the system on the part of providers, patients and healthcare workers will be diminished. When telemedicine is used for acute diagnoses such as telestroke diagnosis and treatment, every minute of delay can negatively impact patient outcomes with significant long term consequences.
Numerous approaches, both from established video communication companies as well as newer market entrants have arisen to address the emerging connectivity and reliability challenges. These approaches include everything from reducing the size and quality of image transmission, to new compression algorithms, and enhancing broadband signal availability with mobile communications hotspots, to development of data transport mechanisms that can operate over low bandwidth while still delivering high quality imagery.
In their new NVTC member blog post, Alvarez & Marsal Taxand discusses how companies in the tech industry can prepare for proposed tax reforms that may be implemented in the near future.Alvarez & Marsal Taxand, an affiliate of Alvarez & Marsal (A&M), a leading global professional services firm, is an independent tax group made up of experienced tax professionals dedicated to providing customized tax advice to clients and investors across a broad range of industries. Alvarez & Marsal Taxand is a founder of Taxand, the world’s largest independent tax organization, which provides high quality, integrated tax advice worldwide.
Under the House Republican “Blueprint for Tax Reform” (the Blueprint), companies would be able to deduct interest expense against interest income, but no current deduction would be allowed for net interest expense. Any net interest expense would be carried forward indefinitely and allowed as a deduction against net interest income in future years. In addition, the proposed reduction of U.S. tax rates may also reduce the value of U.S. interest deductions. These proposals should impact decisions right now around multinational intercompany financing structures for tech companies, as well as other aspects of their intragroup contractual arrangements.
Until now, the high U.S. corporate income tax rate of 35 percent has created an environment that favors foreign related-party lending to U.S. affiliates, particularly when the loan is advanced from a low-tax jurisdiction. U.S. taxable income may be reduced via an interest deduction and the corresponding interest income may be captured in the lower tax jurisdiction. Alternatively, tax considerations may have made it desirable to incur third-party debt in a U.S. group company, rather than in lower-taxed group companies. The feasibility and/or desirability of these sorts of “earnings stripping” benefits would be greatly diminished by the Blueprint.
So, how are forward-looking companies, particularly in the tech industry, preparing for these potentially dramatic changes? We are seeing a number of them explore the following questions:
1. Should the debt level of U.S. group companies be reduced and, if so, how?
2. Should the interest rate be reduced on intragroup debt financing of U.S. group companies?
3. Can we replace debt financing with other forms of financing arrangements that may yield deductions other than interest expense for the U.S. company (e.g., rent expense on sale / leaseback transactions, royalty expense on intellectual property (IP) licensing transactions)?
4. Should U.S. group companies make interest-bearing loans to other group companies that can benefit from interest deductions in their countries, thereby creating interest income in the U.S., against which the U.S. company could then deduct its own interest expense (e.g., should a U.S. company be a group finance company)?
5. Can lost interest deductions be replaced by more aggressive transfer pricing for other intragroup transactions (e.g., the intragroup purchase and/or sale of goods or services)?
All of these questions regarding intragroup transactions have important transfer pricing implications. For most intragroup transactions (other than those rare instances when the comparable uncontrolled price method is the best method), the prevailing transfer pricing theory permits a range of choices for the intercompany transfer price. So, whether the decision relates to the level of U.S. indebtedness, the substitution of interest expense with other types of deductions, or the creation of interest income in the U.S., the after-tax impact of those decisions can be significantly enhanced by proactive transfer pricing planning. This is true regardless of whether the objective is the more traditional one of minimizing taxable income in the U.S., or a new one to increase taxable income in the U.S. (with the offsetting decrease in other countries with higher tax rates) in light of dramatically changed U.S. tax rules. Our international tax and transfer pricing specialists can help your company to determine the most desirable course of action and to substantiate an appropriate / defensible range of choices for intercompany prices that will yield the optimal results.
Visit A&M Taxand’s Tax Advisor Minute for more helpful insights for executives in the technology sector.