Our health-care system is changing the way it does business. From the accelerated growth of telehealth, to the advent of digital therapeutics and diagnostics, to digitized data infrastructure, digital health is here to stay. Challenges like cybersecurity threats, privacy concerns and reaching those with limited Internet capability are also part of the territory.

Experts in medicine, technology, and policy discuss the future of digital health care and how to make it efficient and safe.

Highlights

Jack Resneck Jr., MD, president-elect of the American Medical Association, says telehealth was a “shining success” during the pandemic that will be integrated into how care is delivered to patients going forward. “There are obviously certain instances where it’s nice to have a patient in the office to do a physical exam, in order to offer some in-person counseling …we have a lot of instance where actually getting to see somebody live in their home setting made a difference.” (Washington Post Live)
John Brownstein, PhD, says the digital tools that were created to help facilitate care during the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the adoption of smart hospitals and changed the way doctors engage with patients. Tufia C. Haddad, MD, added the adoption of telemedicine was previously limited because of to licensing and reimbursement barriers, but she says there is now more flexibility and broader options, due, in part, to the pandemic. (Washington Post Live)
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra says President Biden supports added a public option to the Affordable Care Act. “We will work closely with our colleagues in the Senate to try and get something done.” (Washington Post Live)
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra says the administration is still pushing to get as many people as possible vaccinated against covid-19 to help keep mutated forms of the virus from spreading. “It’s a very chilling prospect to allow a variant like the Delta variant to sort of take over when it comes to covid.” (Washington Post Live)
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra says the administration is “absolutely supportive” of efforts to expand telehealth. “We want to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind so that telehealth should be available to all Americans, universally. That includes, of course, making broadband, quality broadband, is out there for all communities.” (Washington Post Live)

Xavier Becerra

Provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Xavier Becerra is the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the United States. As Secretary, he will carry out President Biden’s vision to build a healthy America, and his work will focus on ensuring that all Americans have health security and access to healthcare.Throughout his career, the Secretary has made it his priority to ensure that Americans have access to the affordable healthcare they need to survive and thrive - from his early days as a legal advocate representing individuals with mental illness, to his role as the Attorney General of the state of California.Secretary Becerra served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. During his tenure, he was the first Latino to serve as a member of the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, he served as Chairman of his party’s caucus, and as the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health.For over two decades in Congress, Secretary Becerra worked so that every family had the assurance of care that his own family had when he was growing up. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Secretary Becerra introduced legislation — the Medicare Savings Programs Improvement Act of 2007 — that expanded cost-sharing subsidies for low-income seniors who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits by increasing the amount of resources they could receive. He championed provisions of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 that required physicians who perform imaging to be accredited and trained to ensure patient safety. And he was one of the original cosponsors of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) which strengthened Medicare and lowered costs for seniors.As Attorney General of the state of California, Secretary Becerra helped to promote competition by taking on a number of pharmaceutical companies that restricted competition through “pay-for-delay” schemes, held several companies accountable for legal violations for not protecting patients’ health information, and took action early in the pandemic to keep Californians safe by using his authority to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19, secure key safeguards for frontline health care workers’ rights, and take on fraudsters trying to take advantage of people during the pandemic. In addition, he cracked down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, acted to combat the opioid crisis, including holding drug makers accountable, won an unprecedented $575 million antitrust settlement against one of the largest health systems in California, and he led the three-year federal court fight to save the ACA and with it, the protections of the 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions. Born in Sacramento Secretary Becerra is the son of working-class parents. He was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father, a day laborer turned construction worker. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and he is proud of his three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia, and son-in-law IvanJack Resneck Jr., MD

John Brownstein, PhD

Provided by Boston Children’s Hospital.

John Brownstein, Ph.D is Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and is the Chief Innovation Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital. He also directs the Computational Epidemiology Lab and the Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator both at Boston Children’s. He was trained as an epidemiologist at Yale University.

Overall, his work aims to have translation impact on the surveillance, control and prevention of disease. He has been at the forefront of the development and application of data mining and citizen science to public health. His efforts are in use by millions each year including the CDC, WHO, DHS, DOD, HHS, and EU, and has been recognized by the National Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. In addition to research achievements, this translational impact comes from playing an advisory role to numerous agencies on real-time public health surveillance including HHS, DHS, CDC, IOM, WHO and the White House. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government to outstanding scientists and the Lagrange Prize for international achievements in complexity sciences.

Dr. Brownstein is also Uber’s healthcare advisor and co-founder of digital health companies Epidemico and Circulation. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles on epidemiology and public health. This work has been reported on widely including pieces in the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, National Public Radio and the BBC.

Tufia C. Haddad, MD

Provided by Mayo Clinic.

Tufia C. Haddad, M.D., is a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic, with specialty interest in application of artificial intelligence and digital technologies for advancement of care. Dr. Haddad is the Medical Director of Care Anywhere, Center for Digital Health, and Chair of Practice Innovation and Platform, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

Her clinical expertise is precision medicine in breast cancer, with the focus on multidisciplinary treatment of breast cancer and identifying novel strategies to transform cancer care with connected health and cognitive computing solutions.

Jack Resneck Jr.

Provided & granted permission for use by the American Medical Association

Jack Resneck Jr., MD, was elected president-elect of the American Medical Association in June 2021. A practicing dermatologist and health policy expert from the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Resneck was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 2014 and served as its chair from 2018 to 2019. A strong advocate for physicians and patients, Dr. Resneck has held several health care leadership positions. He served as chair of the AMA Council on Legislation before his election to the Board. Dr. Resneck was elected to the American Academy of Dermatology Board of Directors and served as president of the California Society for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and the board of directors of the National Quality Forum. Dr. Resneck is vice chair and professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and holds a joint appointment at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. Engaged in modernizing medical education and teaching the next generation of physicians, he directed the UCSF dermatology residency program for several years and chaired the committee that oversees UCSF’s innovative medical school curriculum. At UCSF, Dr. Resneck has a busy clinical practice and cares for patients with a wide range of skin diseases. He is active in health services research, and his studies on patient access to care, telemedicine, quality metrics, prior authorization, and public health have been published in prominent journals and attracted national media attention. He is a sought-after speaker and has given dozens of invited lectureships around the country. Dr. Resneck has testified in Congressional hearings and other high-profile venues on the topics of telemedicine, digital health, high drug prices, and other challenges and opportunities facing our health system. He is passionate about the AMA’s work on achieving health equity, attacking dysfunction in health care, confronting chronic disease and reimagining medical education. Raised in Louisiana, Dr. Resneck received his BA in public policy from Brown University and his MD from UCSF where he also completed his internship in internal medicine, residency in dermatology and fellowship in health policy. Dr. Resneck lives in San Rafael, Calif., with his wife Ellen and their two children.

Content from MITRE: Achieving an Equitable Digital Health Strategy

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

In a segment presented by MITRE, the company’s Chief Technology and Medical Officer, Dr. Jay Schnitzer, discusses how COVID-19 has changed digital healthcare delivery and crystalized the need for A National Strategy for Digital Health. (Washington Post Live)

In a segment presented by MITRE, the company’s Chief Technology and Medical Officer, Dr. Jay Schnitzer, discusses how COVID-19 has changed digital healthcare delivery and crystalized the need for A National Strategy for Digital Health.

Dr. Jay Schnitzer

Provided by MITRE.

Jay Schnitzer is vice president, chief technology officer, and chief medical officer at The MITRE Corporation. In this role, he directs the organization’s independent research and development (R&D) program and manages development of corporate technology strategy, which spans MITRE’s operating centers and sponsor community. He also leads corporate and national initiatives in health and life sciences, building coalitions leveraging the best talent across the nation in these communities.

Previously, as the director of biomedical sciences at MITRE, Schnitzer oversaw the organization’s health transformation R&D program. In that capacity, he identified opportunities for MITRE to make important, transformative, and impactful differences in healthcare for our sponsors and the nation. As part of this work, he led the writing and editing of the Integrated Report for the Independent Assessment performed in response to Section 201 of the Veterans Choice Act and organized and facilitated the Blue-Ribbon Panel. To support the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) decision on its electronic health record (EHR) system, he facilitated a special Listening Forum for the VA Secretary in August 2017, at which industry experts on EHR implementation discussed leading practices. In January 2018, he organized a panel of EHR interoperability experts, which produced a report containing recommendations as input for the VA’s contract with a commercial EHR vendor.

Before joining MITRE, Schnitzer was the director of the Defense Sciences Office at DARPA, where he led a team of 20 program managers and 70 support staff overseeing R&D across multiple domains. In addition to life sciences, biomedical research, and quantum physics, these R&D areas included materials science, advanced mathematics, and engineering.

Formerly, Schnitzer was chief medical officer and senior vice president at Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC). His responsibilities at BSC included medical and clinical oversight of the entire product lifecycle for all medical devices manufactured by four business divisions of the company: endoscopy, urology/women’s health, neurovascular, and neuromodulation.

Prior to BSC, Schnitzer was on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital as an attending pediatric surgeon, with a joint appointment at the Shriners Hospital for Children burn center and a faculty position at Harvard Medical School.

In recognition of his work on the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition and his leadership of the MITRE independent R&D program, WashingtonExec named Schnitzer its 2020 Healthcare Industry Executive of the Year. The award recognizes executives fostering innovation for the federal government.

Schnitzer received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He is board certified and re-certified in surgery and pediatric surgery.