When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast in the late summer/early fall of 2005, Lori Evans was summoned into action.
As senior adviser to David Brailer, HHS first national coordinator for health information technology, she was charged with coordinating a system through which providers could have secure access to evacuees medication data. She worked with more than 150 representatives from healthcare software companies; pharmacy benefit managers; chain drugstores;
local, state and federal agencies; and healthcare providers.
It was a really fulfilling, hard time, Evans says. But I think what helped was trying to focus our energy on something helpful and to cope with the devastation. In the midst of such tragedy, it was a good reminder in why we do what we do.
Her duties with Brailers office also included overseeing development of a national health information network and helping launch regional health information organizations.
Evans, 37, has since become the youngest deputy commissioner for the Office of Health Information Technology Transformation for the New York State Health Department. While she considered the change a big move for her, she says the offer to work in New York was too good to pass up.
Previously, Evans served as managing director of Manatt Health Solutions in Washington. During that time, she led the health IT practice and helped build a team of 22 health policy and business professionals into a national practice in less than a year, focusing on improving patient safety and quality of healthcare in the U.S. through the use of health IT.
Lammot du Pont, a senior manager at Manatt, was hired by Evans when she was the vice president of the eHealth Initiative in Washington. His theory is when you find a good boss, you stick with them, and he consequently followed Evans to Manatt.
She takes care of the people she works with, du Pont says. I never felt pressured by her.
Evans, who received her bachelors degree in biology from Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, and her masters degree in public health from George Washington University, Washington, says taking charge of health IT after the hurricanes struck was one of her most rewarding times. Du Pont thinks Evans was the right person for the job during that time.
Shes the kind of person who works all hours of the night, du Pont says. She has that kind of commitment and the ability and willingness to see things through.