Jason McNamara, a former CMS Senior Technical Advisor and Technical Director for Health IT and a recent Health Information Systems consultant is now working as an Independent Health It Consultant available for selective Independent Consulting opportunities. FedHealth IT spoke with Jason about his new role and what he sees ahead in 2019.

Tell us a Bit About Your New Role

2018 proved to be a trying year personally. Diagnosed with PTSD from my combat experience in the Marines and undergoing therapy at the VA, life added a series of unexpected events that forced me to think differently about my life and about my next chapter.

Up until recently, a large part of my identity had been wrapped up in my professional journey. Sure, I was doing other things with my life, but who I was tied directly to my Health IT journey. I wanted to expand that in 2019.

With amazing support from Audacious Inquiry (Ai), and at the end of 2018, I decided to slow down and transition my complete involvement in Healthcare and prioritize things differently in 2019. To do so, I needed to step away from any full-time involvement and step out on my own (in a number of ways).

First, I decided to really lean into a passion side project of mine (named Nomadx). During my tough times in 2018, I had a renewed calling to nature and exploration. Especially during my therapies at the VA, life became overwhelming and it was a nice reset to connect with nature. Nomadx aims to help people find their outdoor lives, acting as the switchboard from consumers to the supply.  In simplest terms, we are going to turn on one of the world’s first and most comprehensive business directories related to the outdoors.

Secondly, I wanted to continue to support the amazing friends and colleagues I’ve met over the years in Healthcare. To that point, I’m helping out some friends and organizations through independent consulting arrangements. I’m also still teaching at George Washington University and Guest Lecturing at Johns Hopkins.

How do you Plan to Support the Market from this New Position?

I don’t think my support for the market changes as much as my involvement and cadence in the market. I’ve always tried to be a friend before colleague, and my hope is that still continues as I reprioritize/balance my life. I think keeping true to my strengths is where I’d root my support.  I’d hope to help organizations with advisory services for positioning their business in Federal and state markets; assisting with interpretations of rules/regulations and how that impacts an approach to business development or operations; and assisting with evaluations/assessment type projects.

Where do You Anticipate for 2019?

I think we have to pay close attention to what’s happening with the Amazons and Apples of the world. When global companies take a stance in the market, invest billions of dollars, and bring millions of their consumers along for the journey, those ripples are going to be felt throughout. When payers like UnitedHealth Group decide to test a new type of EHR model called the individual health record (IHR) through 50 million of their members, that changes the conversation. Consumer engagement has the potential to drastically change the way we think about care, create policy, and pay for care. It remains to be seen the progress in these areas, but even just from the perspective of a consumer of care, I’m paying close attention to these efforts and how and when they might shape the Federal Health space.

Any Other Insights or Advice for the Community?

I met an 80+ year old man the other day and I asked him if he had advice for an almost 40-year-old. He told me something pretty profound. He said, “Learn to survive. If you can learn to survive and smile along the way, you can handle anything life throws at you.” This is the first time in my life when I’m actually scared. This is the first time I’ve done a hard reset on my journey and haven’t had this crazy elaborate plan. So, my advice, coupled with the older gentleman’s, would be: Find your authenticity and don’t be afraid to take that step. If you can learn to survive, you can handle anything that happens in life.

You can learn more about his experience here.

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