The past and future of healthcare interoperability

Dr. Louis Sullivan, former HHS Secretary

wfedstaff | April 17, 2015 5:51 pm

November 26, 2013 — “Visionary” is a term thrown about when somebody gets lucky and predicts a presidential election.

On this week’s “Federal Tech Talk”, we have a true visionary.

Today’s guest is Dr. Louis Sullivan.

He was the nation’s 17th Secretary of Health and Human Services and is in the WFED studios to talk about the twentieth anniversary of a concept that is front page news today: healthcare IT systems and interoperability.


Back in the early 1990’s Dr. Sullivan saw proprietary systems being used for managing healthcare insurance, billing, and clinical information.

His vision was a 10% savings if all these systems could communicate. Back in 1993 this was quite an outrageous concept.

Large vendors at the time wouldn’t consider sitting down at a table and coming up with standards to communicate.

At that time it was viewed as losing a customer.

During the interview, Dr. Sullivan talks about the 20th anniversary of the group he founded to present a forum for discussing healthcare interoperability: the Workgroup for Electronic Data Exchange (WEDI).

On December 5, 2013, Dr. Sullivan will be at the National Press Club to announce his vision for the next twenty years.

This will include mobile, security, and ways healthcare information can be placed safely in the cloud.

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