By Heather Seftel-Kirk, FedHealthIT Contributing Author
Earlier this year, FedHealthIT announced its Top 100. Nominated and chosen by peers, these individuals have been recognized for driving change and advancement, for their willingness to challenge conventional wisdom, and for giving back to the broader Federal Health and Consulting community.
This week we spoke with Jim Traficant, Managing Director, Federal Health with Accenture Federal Services about the transformation currently under way in the healthcare industry, and how his own experience as a two-time liver transplant survivor helps fuel his passion to serve.
Traficant is a member of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and serves as U.S. Advisor for the Global eHealth Foundation, an organization focused on leveraging IT to increase access to healthcare in underserved parts of the world.
Passion from being a patient
Traficant has an IT background in space, defense, and intelligence—but his passion for healthcare began as a patient. “My first liver transplant saved my life and the second one gave me my life back. What I learned in the process is that healthcare had lots of data – what was missing was information.”
Traficant’s experience fueled a vision for creating situational awareness in healthcare. Traficant created a healthcare IT business with his previous employer, Harris, taking them from an idea to over a thousand people in six countries serving government and commercial clients. Traficant came to Accenture Federal to take the richness of what Accenture has done globally to deliver Federal Health transformation.
Transforming the healthcare industry
Across the country, and across the broader health industry, conversations about an aspirational future for healthcare are taking place in federal agencies, industry associations, the private sector, and the Congress. “We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation transformation of an industry. I’m working with our team to shape the future of healthcare, and that includes leveraging our expertise to affect the policy, business and delivery of healthcare.”
Many of the innovations needed in healthcare are occurring in adjacent markets. The financial sector, for instance, has pioneered solutions for data and identity protection that can be directly applied to the longitudinal patient record. The challenges faced by the intelligence community—aggregating information from a variety of sources to allow decision makers to apply judgement in critical time frames with lives at stake—are the same challenges clinicians face in healthcare.
Federal Health: Leading in innovation
Innovation, says Traficant, is a two-way street. “It’s not just importing private sector solutions to federal clients but it’s also exporting federal innovation to private sector health systems as well.” Federal Health is in a unique position to drive the business case for broad health sharing, and DoD, VA, and CMS, he says, are leading. “The VA pioneered the electronic health record—and they’re now the largest integrated delivery network in the United States. As the VA pivots to Care in the Community, much like DoD has with TRICARE, they become the trusted medical home for Veterans with the VA wrapped around the Veteran for care and benefits – and the private sector wrapped around VA for improved access to quality care.”
Traficant says the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who have served is an enormous privilege and sees the work in Federal Health as key to achieving a national transformation. “All I can be is thankful knowing my opportunity to serve in healthcare stems from the gift of life given by my donors, their families, my family, and amazing clinicians dedicated to serving others. The opportunity to make a difference is also a gift enabled by the incredibly talented people working with me at Accenture, our partners, and our innovative clients.”