Current: HP Federal Healthcare Leader
Career history: Don Picard has been with HP Enterprise Services, formerly EDS, for 27 years. For more than 10 of those years, he's led the company's federal healthcare business, largely at CMS, then known as HCFA. Over the past several years, Picard has assumed responsibility for the company's full federal healthcare portfolio, including the rest of U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Military Health System.
Personal: A native of Milwaukee, Picard is a fan of the Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin Badger teams.
- Offer a combination of technologies. “It's important we bring the power of a combination of technologies “” information management, services and security “” in order to support our client's goals and objectives,“ says Picard.
- Leverage commercial best practices. “I believe there will be a drive toward adoption of commercial best practices both within the commercial and government spaces. There will be more data sharing between government agencies whose missions are interconnected.“
- Focus on cybersecurity. “Regardless of how the healthcare reform legislation comes out, security will be very important in the implementation of healthcare reform as well as in the initiatives that the various agencies are currently undertaking themselves.“
ExecutiveBiz: All eyes are on the Healthcare Reform Bill. What role do you see government contractors playing in those reform efforts?
Don Picard: The Administration has sharpened its focus on healthcare reform and on the IT infrastructure to support it. The government is aware that U.S. federal and military healthcare agencies cannot afford to maintain duplicative large enterprise information technologies. Because stove-piped systems do not readily allow for the type of information sharing and exchange that must take place among agencies, improvements in electronic data exchange and other technology modernization efforts are needed to reduce costs and re-direct resources. Government contractors can play a role in assisting the government with ensuring national health IT standards are adopted to enable standards-based, interoperable and secure data sharing between government agencies and within health networks across the nation.
ExecutiveBiz: What technologies do you see being deployed on behalf of U.S. healthcare going forward?
Don Picard: I believe there will continue to be a move across toward adoption of commercial best practices. There will be more data sharing between government agencies whose missions are interconnected “” for example, the VA, Military Health, and in the HHS world, between the CDC, FDA and CMS. All of these agencies will also continue to focus on interoperability and data sharing with their respective private sector constituencies. In order to facilitate that, all of these agencies remain very focused on security “”specifically, cyber security. Regardless of how the healthcare reform legislation comes out, security will continue to be very important in implementation of healthcare reform as well as in the initiatives that the various agencies are currently undertaking themselves.
ExecutiveBiz: Healthcare IT requires the collaboration of multiple parties. What can you advise other government contractors on the best way to contribute to healthcare IT solutions?
Don Picard: It's important that we bring the power of a combination of technologies “” information management and services “” in order to be able to support our client's goals and objectives. It's important to leverage commercial best practices collaborate with the other organizations that are supporting our clients. In terms of boosting commercial best practices, there are organizations that assess applications development and certify processes as CMMI level 3, 4, 5. Rigor in the processes that companies use is critical to government agencies when looking for an applications contractor.
ExecutiveBiz: What other ways can contractors develop a deeper understanding of client missions?
Don Picard: Staying in close touch with the goals and objectives of the agency; understand their mission statements and their five- year business plans. It's understanding what they have in their budgets. It's being involved with industry organizations where you have the opportunity to hear what each agency's leadership is talking about in terms of the most important issues to them. It's clearly not just one thing but about staying very attuned to the each agency's goals and objectives.
ExecutiveBiz: Any last advice for contractors looking to contribute to healthcare IT?
Don Picard: While not unique to healthcare IT, contractor need to cognizant of the issue of organizational conflict of interest. I think that companies need to understand the ramifications if they decide to participate or pursue business in a given area within an agency. Most of the agencies in the federal healthcare space do have swim lanes; they will look at contractors that are performing a certain service and in order to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest may not allow them to perform other types of work. It is just a matter of being cognizant of that issue as you enter the market.
ExecutiveBiz: How can contractors best forge ahead when OCI's definition is still hazy, by some accounts?
Don Picard: Many of the rules are very clear. The contracting shops that we work with have been very good at helping contractors understand how each agency will apply the conflict of interest rules. Work with the contracting organizations within the agencies. I've found them to be good in helping us, helping contractors, understand how it is they will interpret the various rules.
ExecutiveBiz: Healthcare reform remains uncertain. That said, where will we see HP leave its mark in this space?
Don Picard: I believe this marketplace will continue to be dynamic and there will be significant opportunities for government contractors to assist government clients in achieving their objectives in areas like electronic health records, interoperability of systems, and maintaining security of the very important data for which all of our clients are responsible. We'll continue our focus in those areas, while continuing to deliver health information technology solutions, services and systems that enable healthcare organizations to drive change and address their goals of lowering costs, improving care and boosting efficiency.