For Aneesh Chopra, the word commonwealth has double meaning.
It is the governmental structure of several states, including Virginia, where Chopra, chosen by President Barack Obama last April as the first chief technology officer of the U.S., previously served as that state's secretary of technology.
Commonwealth also describes a view of technology in which society, including both government and business, can share to provide mutual benefits.
Chopra spoke for an hour Wednesday at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society meeting in Atlanta, and then hosted an hourlong forum on technology immediately afterward.
While healthcare IT is not Chopra's exclusive domain, using technology to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs is very much on his agenda. For example, Chopra said a national plan on the use of broadband information technology to create a “national IT ecosystem” will be released in a matter of weeks, and “that plan will have a very explicit plan around healthcare,” Chopra said.
Chopra said the government can assist in creating an environment for innovation, but the private sector is where much of the innovation in technology will occur.