Susannah Fox: Patients, caregivers must help to foster health innovation

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Healthcare must adopt a culture of innovation, and the internet is helping to bring patients more deeply into that process, according to Department of Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer Susannah Fox.

The Internet not only gives patients information, it gives them access to each other, she says in an interview with The Wall Street JournalOnline information, however, can be inaccurate, and peer conversations not based on science. That’s why it’s essential to “seed the field with facts," Fox says.

Her goal, she tells WSJ, is to expand the definition of technology beyond code and data to also encompass advanced manufacturing and other possibilities.

What's more, she says, patients and caregivers often are the ones closest to both problems and solutions, making it vital to bring them into the innovation conversation.

Additionally, Fox says, innovation in healthcare and government, which both traditionally have been highly resistant to change, means empowering those on the front lines to bring new ideas to reality.

“[W]e need to ensure that anyone who sees a problem can research, prototype, and test a solution," she says.