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From an award ceremony to panel talks, senior leaders will have presence at HIMSS

Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of Defense Health Agency, will be honored as a recipient of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards on March 8 in Las Vegas. Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of Defense Health Agency, will be honored as a recipient of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards on March 8 in Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas — Information technology plays a critical role in increasing transparency and making sure the right information gets to the right people. Health care systems can face challenges in achieving integrated care, but as 2018 rolls on, the Military Health System continues to work towards its goal of being a high-reliability organization.            

This week, leadership from across Defense Health Agency and Health Affairs discussed these areas during the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference, also known as HIMSS, in Las Vegas.

“Federal health leaders and the health IT industry are in this together,” said Vice. Adm. Raquel Bono, director of DHA. “We all strive to enhance quality of care across a range of settings.”

Today, Bono will be honored as a recipient of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards. Since becoming director, Bono has implemented various strategic health information technology initiatives for the Military Health System. This includes improving the quality and safety of health care delivery, as well as access to health care, for more than 9.4 million beneficiaries.

Established in 2016, the award celebrates “those female visionaries harnessing the power of information technology to transform health and health care.” To be eligible, nominees must have demonstrated “active leadership of the effective use of IT in support of the strategic initiatives of her organization.”     

Partnerships and innovation make the MHS more effective, more agile, and more adept to care for patients, said Bono, who will speak with David Shulkin, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, on delivering coordinated care for those in and out of uniform at HIMSS.

“We must improve access to care, which requires innovation to strengthen integration between private and public sectors; innovation that empowers patients; and innovation that overcomes geographic distances abroad and at home through virtual health and telemedicine,” said Bono.

While the MHS differs from other health care systems, it seeks to achieve excellence in medical service delivery and patient care, said Bono. MHS continues to expand the use of telehealth to give patients more access to the care they want and need.

Bono, along with two other panelists, will also discuss the process and challenges health systems face in achieving integrated care, and the role of information technology in transparency as MHS strives to enhance quality of care, whether in small clinics, large medical centers, or deployed settings.

“Hearing and exchanging ideas with world-class health IT thought leaders working to advance everything from data interoperability, to telehealth, to precision medicine, to cybersecurity prompts some critical questions about the DHA’s approach to partnerships and innovation,” said Bono.  

From combating the opioid epidemic through collaboration and information exchange to discussing health information exchange between Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, DHA leadership will have a significant presence at HIMMS. Cybersecurity’s critical role, capabilities of the Desktop to Data-Center plan, and a leader’s vision for DHA Information Operations to enhance support to the MHS will also be presented during the conference.

HIMSS brings together approximately 40,000 health care IT professionals, clinicians, executives, and vendors from around the world. For information, visit the HIMSS webpage.

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