Up & Comers - 2013
VP, Market Development, New York eHealth Collaborative
When Anuj Desai thinks about information technology interoperability, it's not in the common healthcare context of barriers to health data exchange, but rather, with a view to its infinite possibilities.
Desai is vice president of market development for the New York eHealth Collaborative, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2007 to promote interoperable health information technology in the Empire State.
In that position, the 36-year-old has juggled state- and national-level projects, including the development of some of the largest interoperability projects in the country, using conventional and bleeding edge Web-based technology.
For his accomplishments, Desai won a place in Modern Healthcare's 2013 class of Up and Comers.
“I think I was always into technology,” Desai says, recalling his early years in high school and his first computer obtained from a family friend who owned a computer shop. His healthcare interests, meanwhile, have family roots. “My sister is a physician. My mom worked in a hospital.” And Desai has a bachelor's of science in biotechnology from Rutgers University. “I'm much more of a people person,” rather than doing research, he says. “Business is more my thing.”
Desai received an MBA from the University of Maryland, with a focus on strategy and marketing. There he worked with its Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, providing strategic assessments to health IT stakeholders while also specializing in bio-tech working with the university's own venture capital fund.
Before coming to the collaborative, Desai worked in technology advisory positions with Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, and before that in marketing positions with a data management firm catering to the drug industry.
Desai, who has been with NYeHC since 2010, has led relationship building and technical development for the collaborative's EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup. He's also managed development of an application programming interface, or API, to sit atop the Statewide Health Information Network of New York, SHIN-NY. The collaborative oversees the network. Desai also has led the New York Digital Health Accelerator, which has yielded $4.2 million in funding for eight companies.
The interoperability workgroup started in 2011 as an effort to achieve consensus among New York's many regional health information exchangeson standards and implementation specifications. NYeHC now claims 11 regional exchanges as members.
In its first year, the workgroup achieved consensus on how providers could best query an HIE about a patient and their records, and on how to send and receive patient records.
“The contributions of the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup are just beginning to advance the industry in a number of ways—and there is much more to come,” says Dr. Vishnu Oruganti, assistant director of quality improvement and patient safety in the department of medicine at Jacobi Medical Center, New York, in a nomination letter for Desai. “Its work could lead to a true revolution within the industry, shaving years off product development and innovation. Much of the credit for that incredible work belongs to Mr. Desai.”