Health IT Roundup—VA has a new IT leader; Alliance for Better Health launches Medicaid HIE

Veterans affairs sign
James Gfrerer will take over as the assistant secretary for information and technology at the VA. (JeffOnWire CC BY 2.0)

James Gfrerer tapped for VA IT post

President Donald Trump has named a former executive director with Ernst & Young’s cybersecurity practice, James Gfrerer, as the assistant secretary for information and technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Although the appointment did not indicate Gferer would take over as chief information officer, he appears to be the leading candidate since the VA has been operating with an interim CIO for some time. Prior to his time with Ernst & Young, Gferer was detailed to the state department leading efforts on cybersecurity and counterterrorism. He’ll take on a new monumental task with the VA’s EHR migration already underway.

“This Senate-confirmed role oversees a number of critical projects at the VA, including the massive electronic health records merger, a new system to support the expanded VA caregivers benefits, and other IT priorities,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said in a statement. “Having permanent leadership in place to oversee these projects and the VA’s various information and technology systems will be critical as Congress works with the VA to address concerns and make improvements to bring VA into the 21st century.” (Announcement)

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Alliance for Better Health launches first HIE for Medicaid patients

The Alliance for Better Health will launch the first regional consumer-directed health information exchange to support Medicaid beneficiaries in New York.

Scheduled to launch in September, the exchange will give Medicaid members access to their health records and allow them to share that information with any other provider or agency, including community organizations such as homeless shelters and food pantries.

“Too often, health information isn’t shared by hospitals and physicians because of complex privacy regulations,” Alliance CEO Jacob Reider, M.D., said in a statement. “When consumers manage and share our own health information, we become empowered drivers of our own health, rather than passengers.” (Announcement)

Mount Sinai testing physicals of the future

CNBC reporter Christina Farr recently went through a workup at Mount Sinai’s incubator program Lab100 that plans to futurize the routine physical.

While it hasn’t launched publicly, the team put Farr through a battery of tests including cognitive, strength and balance testing with an emphasis on putting data in front of the patient. Hospital officials said they intend to scale up the offering and bring down the cost so it's available to patients at all socioeconomic levels. (CNBC)

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