You have a diverse background that covers defense and health, among other areas. What led you to work in these sectors?
I worked on one of NASA’s great observatories, developed satellite command and control solutions for commercial, defense, and intel clients; led business development for a large defense firm and ran an IT business in intel. My career uniquely equipped me to serve in healthcare. My life experience required it.
Tell us about your transition into healthcare.
My passion for healthcare comes from being a patient. I’ve had two liver transplants. The first one saved my life; the second one gave me my life back. I learned that healthcare had lots of data—what was missing was information. My experience in defense and intel, where life and mission depend on information and situational awareness, helps drive my vision and passion for transforming the way healthcare is accessed and practiced.
What is your role at Accenture Federal Services?
I have the great privilege of being a managing director leading AFS Military Health and president of ASM Research. ASM supports the U.S. military, the DOD [Department of Defense], the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs], and the Army National Guard delivering mission critical military and health IT solutions to help DOD manage the health and readiness of the force.
How has your personal experience influenced your volunteer work?
Every day is a gift. I’ve been to the brink of death three times and now my health has been restored. All I can be is thankful—and look for ways to give back. I serve as COO of the Global eHealth Foundation leveraging communications and information tech to enable access to health services in parts of the world where they don’t exist—and to help transform the way healthcare is delivered in the developed world. For 5,000 years, the masses have traveled to the few for care. We’re turning the model upside down.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing federal healthcare today?
Interoperability. When you think about the DOD and VA, they frame the second-largest health system in the world. The DOD’s mission is global, so there’s a need for interoperability and the ability to move information whether at home, in theater, with our Allies or NGOs as part of a defense diplomatic mission. And we need to move health information from DOD to VA and Social Security and CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). Federal health needs to lead the nation in interoperability. If we lead, the rest of the industry will follow.
Which accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?
Taking an idea and a passionate team and making a difference. I’ve been so fortunate to work on pioneering programs like the Gamma Ray Observatory, the Iridium space-based phone network, GPS, a host of transformative defense and intel programs—and created a global healthcare business. I love waking up every day knowing I work with people who want to make a difference.
Looking forward, what most excites you about your role in this field?
Everything I’ve experienced professionally and personally has equipped me to serve in healthcare. I have this great privilege of working across Accenture to help deliver the transformation everyone is waiting for.
For a deeper look inside issues in federal health, watch Jim and other luminaries in the Industrialized Interoperability and Insight-Driven Federal Health Panel video series.