HHS adds four more 'Entrepreneurs in Residence'

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The Department of Health and Human Services has signed up the latest cohort of experts for its program to tap outside know-how for a host of forward-looking IT projects.

In a blog post on the HHS Idea Lab website, Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak said the four new participants in the department's Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program were matched with project teams of HHS employees to work for a year on "high risk high reward projects."

Those teams employ methodologies such as agile development and lean startup, and contribute to the HHS Idea Lab's goal of changing the culture of the department, Sivak said.

Experts tapped by the agency are Mark Scrimshire, co-founder of HealthCamp, a consumer-focused health care company; Danny Boice, co-founder of Speek, which offers conference calling and screen sharing; Paula Braun, who led a team of data scientists and software engineers to provide analytics and advanced statistical programming for a federal financial regulatory agency; and David Portnoy, a 20-year veteran of building innovative big data applications for enterprise clients.

The new cohort will work on four projects identified by HHS employees in May, Sivak said.

Scrimshire will work on a project by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to redesign the Medicare Blue Button service, which allows patients to download personal data to their own computers through their account. Scrimshire's team looks to enable Blue Button as a data-as-a-service platform, with the aim of letting patients use Blue Button data through third-party applications.

Boice will help with an Administration for Community Living project to explore how the aging and disability communities use technology and new media to learn about and manage services.

Braun will work on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project to create the next-generation Electronic Death Registration System, which aims to obtain more timely mortality data and provide tools for meaningful analysis of the data.

Portnoy will help the CIO's office and Idea Lab team design, develop and link public-facing research database applications for the department.

Sivak said the three-year-old Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program has helped solve problems ranging from modernizing organ transplant systems to increasing government database usability. So far it has recruited 20 entrepreneurs from the private sector into government, to work on a total of 13 projects.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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