The Washington, D.C. Metro region is known first and foremost as the nation’s capital. So, it’s fair to assume that much of the business that happens in and around the Capital Beltway is done by government contractors, defense companies and other organizations that make their money by selling to the federal government.
And that’s partially true. The fact is, the D.C. Metro region is also home to a very diverse business community that draws companies thanks to its educated workforce, mass transit and other benefits. Today, the Nation’s Capital is home to companies in hospitality, technology, cybersecurity and even healthcare.
This concentration of high tech companies and technology startups is evidenced by an annual event sponsored by MITRE called the Washington Technology Showcase. The 2018 Showcase will be held in late October, and will be focused on healthcare technology, an industry that has seen massive advancement and investment over the course of the last few years.To learn more about the Washington Technology Showcase, and this year’s healthcare focused event, we sat down with one of the organizers, Denis O’Sullivan, Managing Principal of Inflection Analytics, a firm focused on succession and exit planning.
Denis is the founder of the annual Washington Technology Showcase, and during our discussion, we talked about the event’s origins, why healthcare technology was an important topic to cover in 2018, and what attendees can expect from this year’s event. Here is what he had to say:
Corporate Growth, Capital Style (CGCS): You are the founder of the Washington Technology Showcase. What was the intended purpose of this annual event, and why was it started?
Denis O’Sullivan: The Washington Technology Showcase was originally conceived to help publicize and demonstrate the breadth and depth of the D.C. technology community.
As you’re undoubtedly well aware, many people assume that this region is home to only aerospace and defense companies due to also being the nation’s capital. We want to let investors, potential employees and corporate America know that we’re more than just government contracting. There’s a lot of innovation here, and many innovative companies call this region home.
CGCS: This year’s event appears to be healthcare focused, with an eye on healthcare IT and advancements in the delivery of care. Why is now an important time to be focusing on healthcare IT?
Denis O’Sullivan: Healthcare technology – or Health IT – is rapidly accelerating. And that’s not just here in the nation’s capital, that’s everywhere.
Much of that has to do with the slow pace of innovation and technology adoption in the healthcare industry. Often, innovation in healthcare is focused on identifying new treatments or pharmaceuticals. And doctors and other individuals within the care team have been reticent to embrace change. As a result, healthcare has always been behind in technology.
But that’s starting to change.
Many of the technologies that are gaining traction in other industries are starting to make their way into healthcare. Healthcare providers, health systems and other healthcare organizations are seeing the ways these technologies are revolutionizing how other industries work, and they’re beginning to find ways in which to integrate and implement them within the healthcare system.
Washington Technology Showcase 2018 is ultimately about building bridges. We want to build a bridge between various stakeholders and organizations that may not always talk to each other – government, IT startups, academia, healthcare companies. These organizations are all working on – or are impacted by – healthcare IT in some capacity, but they’re working in silos.
This year’s Showcase will help to bring them together, force a dialogue and possibly establish ways in which they can work together – collaboratively – to move the ball forward.
CGCS: What technologies do you anticipate will shape and influence healthcare the most extensively in the next five years? How do you personally see healthcare changing?
Denis O’Sullivan: There are so many innovative technologies making their way into the healthcare industry, but I think the biggest change is going to be personalized healthcare.
One of our participants in this showcase is the Mayo Clinic, and they are among the innovative organizations leading the charge in changing medicine so that it is personalized to the individual instead of being generalized for a whole population.
This focus on the individual and on personalizing care will only lead to better patient outcomes in the long term.
CGCS: You mentioned that D.C. is known as a government contracting town. Why do a health IT focused Washington Technology Showcase in this town?
Denis O’Sullivan: Simply, the innovative technology companies are here. We have a huge analytics community, and the intersection of healthcare and analytics is something we want to explore. We also have an enormous cybersecurity presence, and that’s increasingly important as healthcare data moves online and data privacy becomes an increasing concern.
We’re also seeing incredible investment in health IT right here in this region. Inova is working on launching their Center for Personalized Health in what used to be the Inova Mobile Campus in Fairfax, VA. And they’re going to be joined in the region by other healthcare providers and health systems that are looking to embrace new technology in the delivery of care.
Also, the federal government is also interested in advancing new healthcare technologies. Between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense – which has to deliver healthcare services to the members of our military – the federal government is responsible for delivering healthcare services and coverage to many Americans.
Between large companies, investors and the federal government, we have an enormous presence in healthcare here in D.C.
CGCS: What companies have been invited to attend this year? Why were these the companies chosen?
Denis O’Sullivan: We actually have a very wide spectrum of technology companies, healthcare companies, academic institutions and government agencies that will be represented at WTS 2018.
CMS is going to give an address on the, “State of the Union of Healthcare Economics.” We have investment groups, including INOVA and the Mayo Clinic’s investment groups that will be on hand, talking about the future of healthcare and the types of organizations and solutions they’re looking to invest in. We also have multiple exciting health IT companies that are working to advance personalized medicine, as well as some medical device manufacturers and other innovative companies.
Ultimately, the Technology Showcase has been designed to expose attendees to new, compelling technologies before they read about them in the press. I feel we’ve done a great job of building a program that will accomplish that.
CGCS: What can attendees at this year’s event expect to learn from the discussions? Why should folks make it out to the MITRE offices on October 25?
Denis O’Sullivan: There’s going to be a lot of education, a lot of product demonstration. There are going to be in-depth discussions and demonstrations of technologies that range from cyber security to mobile devices and wearables.
This is going be one of the most informational overviews about the future of healthcare that the average investor or executive can attend and comprehend. It’s not a medical conference, it’s a broad look at the healthcare sector for those that may want to work in it – or invest in it – or are just curious about the future of healthcare and where the industry is going.