Andrea Ippolito is a well-known name in the medical hacking community. She is a co-founder at MIT’s Hacking Medicine and a PhD student in Engineering Systems at the same institution; but now, as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, she’s bringing that reputation for nimble healthcare innovation to the VA. Ippolito jumped on board for the fellowship opportunity because it provided a platform like no other. “There’s no better stage than the federal government and being able to impact on a national level,” she says. The VA is also the largest healthcare provider per population.
Part of Ippolito’s responsibility as a fellow is to interact with veterans, understanding their challenges and designing solutions based on those logistics. She points out that the VA allows for greater pioneering and embracing of technologies like electronic health records, telehealth and care with convenience. Plus, the stars are perfectly aligned for innovation as the ACO transitions healthcare to a fee-for-care, patient-centric and innovative model.
Ippolito believes the key to successful innovation is in understanding how healthcare is currently being practiced in urban and rural areas. “Don’t make assumptions; customers are eager to share their stories so hear them out,” she says.
And our biggest question: what’s it like to hang out with the President? Ippolito doesn’t say much, but she will say that President Obama emphasizes “loving the work,” especially during setbacks or when work goes unrecognized; wise words Ippolito lives by.
Shreya specializes in health communications and is a copywriter for an advertising agency. She was previously at Bayer Healthcare, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide
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