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New Federal CTO to Harness “Raw Material” of Untapped Employees

TechSource Editor

April 2, 2012  |  Telehealth


The White House blog confirmed recently that President Obama has appointed Todd Park as the new federal Chief Technology Officer (CTO) after Aneesh Chopra stepped down.

Park spent the past three years as CTO for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) where, according to the White House blog, “he was a hugely energetic force for positive change.”  He is credited with a number of initiatives, perhaps the most innovative being the creation of HealthCare.gov, an easy-to-use tool created to provide consumers with a comprehensive inventory of the public and private health insurance plans available across the nation.

Technology enthusiasts got a preview of Park’s energy and creativity at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, where Park addressed attendees and outlined his vision for his new position. Park clearly recognizes an untapped resource of federal-minded entrepreneurs in the government and he believes these innovators merely need a leader to give them permission to put their ideas into action. His plans are to tap into this spirit and find the innovators that can drive change to better serve the American people — and he’ll do it “start-up style.”

Park knows a thing or two when it comes to startups. Prior to his time at HHS, Park co-founded athenahealth in 1997, a health information technology startup that eventually went public. He also served as a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, focusing on health care strategy, technology and operations. Additionally, Park served in several volunteer positions including Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and as senior health care advisor to Ashoka. At Ashoka, Park was instrumental in starting a venture to bring affordable telehealth, drugs, diagnostics and clean water to rural India.

Park made it clear at the recent SXSW conference that he plans to bring this expertise and practical knowledge of private sector best practices to apply to the federal government. According to Park, “Not only is it possible to do lean startup in federal government, but it’s the most effective way to drive change.”


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