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Journalism Workshop on Health Information Technology: Program

Click red arrows to read descriptions of events and panels.

Thursday, Oct. 13

2-2:15 p.m.


  • Karl Stark, assistant managing editor, business, health and science, The Philadelphia Inquirer


2:15-3:30 p.m.

Making health IT stories local

How do you take the technology issues in health care — digital health records, big data, telemedicine — and not only translate them to your local audience, but make them relevant and interesting to readers? How do you find those compelling stories about startup founders, researchers and others relying on technology to improve the way health care is delivered in your community? This panel features experts who understand the world of startups as well as how those technologies are used in real-life medical settings and the ways they are expected to change the future of health care.
  • Matthew Holt, founder, The Health Care Blog; co-chairman, Health 2.0

  • Robert Wachter M.D., interim chair, Department of Medicine, University of California-San Francisco

  • Moderator: Victoria Colliver, reporter, San Francisco Chronicle


3:30-3:45 p.m.



3:45-5 p.m.

Gauging technology’s impact on quality of care

While health IT can improve the quality of care patients receive by boosting efficiency and making it easier for multiple clinicians to coordinate and track performance, it can also result in harm when not thoughtfully introduced. New tools can be riddled with inherent risks, such as confusing interface and poor human-factors design. Panelists will speak to the gaps and challenges of health IT introduction and provide insight into lessons about how to integrate technology safely.
  • David Blumenthal M.D., president, The Commonwealth Fund

  • Russ Cucina, M.D., M.S., vice president, health informatics and chief health information officer, University of California San Francisco Health System

  • Hardeep Singh M.D., M.P.H., chief of the health policy, quality and informatics, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

  • Moderator: Sabriya Rice, health business reporter, The Dallas Morning News


5-6:30 p.m.



Friday, Oct. 14

7:15-8:15 a.m.

Breakfast available


8:30-10 a.m.

Health at a distance: The growth in virtual medicine

Telemedicine has become part of the routine in some areas of health care, including psychiatry and radiology. But more uses are on the horizon, and providers are considering what can be done to help patients be comfortable in discussing personal issues with a health care provider over a computer monitor or smartphone. We’ll discuss the promise and pitfalls with leaders in the field.
  • Caesar Djavaherian, M.D., founder, Direct Urgent Care

  • Suneel Gupta, chief executive officer, Rise; head of mobile business, One Medical

  • Julia Lipton, One Medical

  • Ian Tong, chief medical officer, Doctor On Demand

  • Moderator: Tony Leys, staff writer, Des Moines Register


10-10:15 a.m.



10:15-11:45 a.m.

Big data: What it means for medicine

As genetic sequencing has become cheaper and faster, the amount of data available to researchers, doctors and patients has exploded. How do people make sense of the data and put it to use? This session will take a look at how the era of big data is changing medical research. There will be a particular focus on how vast databases of genetic information are being mined for insights into human disease.
  • Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D., director, Institute for Computational Health Sciences; professor of pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco

  • Phil Febbo, M.D., chief medical officer, Genomic Health

  • Robert Gentleman, Ph.D., vice president, computational biology, 23andMe

  • Moderator: Scott Hensley, host, NPR's Shots blog


Will health IT help an aging population?

What is “connected aging,” and how could the new generation of IT encourage more – not undermine – independence in the rapidly growing senior population? Will geriatric-tech products and systems be accessible and affordable, especially for the increasingly diverse older population? Will home sensors become angels in the floorboards – or invasive devils? And what can be done to get the tech world to stop underestimating older consumers in their adoption of social media? Panelists from University of California Berkeley’s Center for Technology and Aging, the Institute for the Future and Stanford Medical School will consider these and other questions.
  • Richard Adler, M.A., M.B.A., distinguished fellow, Institute for the Future; principal, People and Technology

  • V.J. Periyakoil, M.D., director, Stanford Palliative Care Education and Training Program, Stanford University School of Medicine; associate director of Palliative Care Services, VA Palo Alto Health Care Center

  • David Lindeman, Ph.D., director of health, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and Banatao Institute; director, Center for Technology and Aging

  • Moderator: Paul Kleyman, director, Ethnic Elders Newsbeat, New America Media


11:45 a.m.-noon



Noon-1:30 p.m.


Over the past seven years, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology – in collaboration with federal partners and the private sector – has ushered in an era of widespread electronic health record adoption and use throughout the country. Vindell Washington will discuss this historic advancement and how it has set the stage for the seamless and secure flow of health information – also known as interoperability – to improve the health and care of individuals and communities. Specifically, Washington will address how these advancements laid the groundwork for progress on a range of national health priorities, including Delivery System Reform, the Cancer Moonshot, combating the opioid epidemic, the Precision Medicine Initiative, clinical innovation, and protecting and advancing public health.
  • Special guest: B. Vindell Washington, M.D., M.H.C.M., F.A.C.E.P., newly named national coordinator for health information technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


1:45-3 p.m.

The money connection: Insurers, providers and health IT

Long gone are the days when health insurers simply collected premium payments and paid the bills issued by physicians. The rapidly changing health care landscape has altered the insurer's role permanently. These changes include pay-for-value arrangements (like accountable care organizations); adoption of electronic health records; and pressures to keep down costs while expanding coverage (see recent insurer exits from the exchanges). On this panel, insurer representatives will discuss these challenges as well as opportunities they see for health IT to improve payment models, provider collaboration and patient care.
  • Beth Ginzinger, R.N., M.B.A., vice president, provider joint ventures, Anthem West Region

  • Kathleen Lindner, vice president, marketing and sales technology, Kaiser Permanente

  • Moderator: Rebecca Vesely, AHCJ topic leader/health information technology; independent journalist, San Francisco


Combating health disparities through technology and data

Health IT tools are finding their way into medical research, but these new technologies are also increasingly used by community health leaders, city leaders and health providers to influence the health outcomes of the most vulnerable populations – including those with chronic diseases. Experts offer resources and story ideas related to how the explosion of new technologies are being used to address health disparities, rather than create further divides.
  • Carolyn B. Jasik, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco; health affairs lead, Omada Health

  • Pamela M. Ling, M.D., M.O.H., professor of medicine, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

  • Micah Weinberg, president, Bay Area Council Economic Institute

  • Moderator: Christina Farr, senior business writer, Fast Company


3-3:15 p.m.



3:15-4:30 p.m.

Security and privacy issues for businesses, consumers

Data breaches at the nation's hospitals, health plans and other medical providers are becoming alarmingly commonplace, and health information technology officials are working overtime to contain and prevent them. In this panel, you'll get a better understanding of the current threats and what's being done by governments and businesses to protect patients. How cyber-safe is your local hospital, doctors' office or health plan? And what can consumers do to protect themselves?
  • Michelle De Mooy, acting director, Privacy and Data Project, Center for Democracy and Technology

  • Dena Mendelsohn, J.D., M.P.H., staff attorney, Consumers Union

  • Patrick Phelan, information security officer, University of California San Francisco Information Technology Security

  • Moderator: Barbara Feder Ostrov, senior editor, Kaiser Health News


Wearing health: What’s next in consumer-level technology?

The gee-whiz aspect of wearable health technology has faded. Consumers today expect devices on their wrists, chest and elsewhere to help keep their health in check. Panelists will discuss devices that have and haven’t worked so far – and what questions health journalists can ask to sort out the snake oil from the legitimate products coming down the pipeline.
  • Amy McDonough, vice president and general manager, Fitbit Group Health

  • Mitchell Mom, leader, venture arm of Rock Health

  • Moderator: Mary Shedden, news director, WUSF Public Media