Michael Tranchina speaks with Amy King, Vice President of Health IT Programs at Northrop Grumman. Ms. King discusses Northrop Grumman’s broad footprint in Health IT, as its work extends from public health data collection, monitoring and reporting to benefits management in local, state, and federal sectors. Ms. King and Michael Tranchina talk about Northrop Grumman’s rules-based eligibility system, bioinformatics work, and public health collaborations with the CDC. Ms. King closes the discussion by stating Northrop Grumman is committed to its customers and to helping the nation move forward with its Health IT agenda.
Michael Tranchina: Hello, this is Mike Tranchina with EHRtv and I'm here with Amy King, Vice-President of Health Information Technology Programs at Northrop Grumman. Hi, Amy.
Amy King: Hi, how are you?
Michael Tranchina: Tell me about Northrop Grumman's work surrounding the health IT industry.
Amy King: Well, we have a very broad footprint in health IT from public health to benefits management to health information exchange both in the federal and the state and local sectors.
Michael Tranchina: What are you showcasing this week at HIMSS?
Amy King: We have several things. We have rules based eligibility system that we have, we have some bioinformatics work that we're doing with the National Institutes of Health, we have some public health work that we're doing for the Centers for Disease Control around hand-held's and geographic information systems and a couple of other things. It's really exciting technology that we're using.
Michael Tranchina: Can you give me an example of how your technology is impacting physicians that are in public health. Give me maybe an example or story of how this technology is again helping.
Amy King: One of the things our mobile hand-held device is out there to collect some of the data around such as H1N1, the virus. We were involved with the actual research of where that started and the impact of how it happened with regards to the population. So some of our technology was easily able to collect the data that was quickly analyzed so that things could be put in place.
Michael Tranchina: So these are portable hand-held devices that allow field reps, if you will, to put that data in and remotely communicate that data to a central data base?
Amy King: Correct, correct.
Michael Tranchina: And then allow decision makers in the public health sector to analyze it real-time?
Amy King: Yes. So it was then placed in the models for the outcomes to what prevention that we needed to have happen.
Michael Tranchina: When you hear of Northrop Grumman you think of military defense, a huge contractor for the military complex.
Amy King: Yes.
Michael Tranchina: You don't hear of your company a lot in the health care IT industry. Is it mainly because you're so focused on the government side of the business or do you have a commercial side as well?
Amy King: We have a commercial side. Our focus is more in the federal and state and local arena. We've been in the health IT business actually for over 20 years. If you really date back to some of the companies that Northrop acquired. It's been a very steady growth area. We don’t build the large aircraft carriers or ships or planes but it's a very robust business that we have and we're looking forward to offering new solutions to our customers.
Michael Tranchina: Now, I noticed that you have a lot of images in the booth. Do you do things with transferring large images over networks or any kind of technology that allows large amount of volume of data to be transferred back and forth?
Amy King: Yes. We've worked on the bi-directional health information exchange between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran's Affairs. That was dealing with some of the images, x-rays and some of the information that needed to get from the ALTA system into the VistA system and vice versa.
Michael Tranchina: Briefly describe for me Northrop Grumman's interoperability framework for the departments of Defense and the Veteran's Affairs.
Amy King: Sure. We were one of the original NHIN contractors as part of the first phase of NHIN and we're still working with NHIN Connect and some of the other things that are occurring with the new and updated standards but we basically build off of the bi-directional health information exchange and have an HIE platform that we're using in some state and local arenas and then connecting to the federal government to really show the capability of interoperability.
Michael Tranchina: So will your technology be used exclusively for the government or will doctors in the field be somehow exchanging data in the future through that network?
Amy King: Potentially, this all connects with the HNIN so that’s the government's standards. We will be connecting with that using the updated technologies in the updated frameworks. So doctors and the information will be shared across whether it's Department of Defense to VA to Social Security to the local hospitals et cetera, so we're looking to help in that area.
Michael Tranchina: So how do you see Northrop Grumman's services as critical to the advancement of HIT in the health reporting surveillance? You spoke a little bit about that with the HIN1 virus. That's obviously going to be more and more of an important aspect of keeping the health care costs down.
Amy King: Yes. I think we're going to have a very big play. We have epidemiologists, we have doctors, we have a lot of technologian tools that we're supporting the CDC. We have over 1,000 people in support of the Centers for Disease Control so we're looking at also leveraging that into other adjacencies such as Africa and helping with laboratory information systems around HIV/AIDS and public health reporting and that area. So we're really looking at how technology can help impact the access of data to help put in place some preventive measures.
Michael Tranchina: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us today?
Amy King: I would say that we are fully committed to our customers and to helping the nation move forward with their health IT agenda.
Michael Tranchina: Thank you, Amy. I really appreciate it. Have a great day.
Amy King: Thank you very much, appreciate it.
Michael Tranchina: This is Mike Tranchina with EHRtv.