Kate Berry for health data exchange

Kate Berry

Kate Berry, CEO of the National eHealth Collaborative, which recently released a roadmap for establishing and operating successful health information exchanges (see page XX), figures she caught the healthcare bug from her family. Her parents met in a hospital. Her mother, a dietician, ran the cafeteria and later did public health research. At the time, her father was studying for his doctorate in biochemistry. Her sister is a physical therapist.

“I think healthcare is a field where it’s easy to be inspired about how it can impact potentially everyone’s life,” she says.

Along the way, Berry found mentors who inspired her: Dr. Bernadine Healy, “a very strong visionary, principled leader,” is one. Healy died in August 2011, but she remains an inspiration to Berry. Jerry McManus, president of consulting firm McManus Associates is another influence as is Kevin Hutchinson, founder of Surescripts, who now serves as CEO of the NeHc board. With each of them Berry honed her own leadership skills. She credits McManus with teaching her how to think strategically, how to build relationships, how to manage projects and teams, and how to solve problems. She calls Hutchinson, “a great strategic and business mind.”

The leadership skills her mentors helped form come in handy as Berry helps to lead the charge to an interoperable healthcare system.

Q. What is most compelling about your roll at NeHC?

A. The reason I came to National eHealth Collaborative is because I really saw it as a very unique platform for collaboration. The caliber of leadership on the board is truly outstanding. The organization’s very close relationship with the Office of the National Coordinator is really an important part of what makes us successful. By virtue of being a public-private partnership that has that close relationship with the government, and yet the independence of the private sector, it’s really a unique platform for collaboration. One of the things that is really cool about NeHC is our vast network of stakeholders that are engaged with us. We have this ability to find the people who are ahead of the game and then leverage that experience to help others by having the ability to disseminate and to convene and to share lessons learned. We have the ability to help accelerate what’s going on.

Q. What about the challenges?

A. It’s a big challenge to stay focused. There’s an incentive to try to do everything because there’s so much to do, and I think it’s really important that we keep our focus on the thing where we can have the greatest impact. We definitely try to stay very, very focused in three areas. That is health information exchange, patient engagement, and NeHC University – our education programs. We try not to get too off those three areas. We are very focused on managing our resources so that we can have an impact in those areas where we are best positioned to make a difference.

Q. How did the HIE Roadmap come about?