Todd Park, HHS Tech Chief, Headlines Xconomy’s Health IT Evening on Feb. 9

Xconomy Boston — 

Got plans for the evening of February 9? If you’re involved or deeply interested in health IT, and how the digitization of medicine could improve the healthcare system, then join us and sign up here for Xconomy Xchange: HHS CTO Todd Park and Friends on the Future of Health IT.

Park, who is the keynote speaker of the event at the Microsoft New England R&D Center in Cambridge, MA, needs very little introduction in healthcare circles. The co-founder of Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN), Park helped build one of the largest and most successful health IT companies in the region before he took his talents to the beltway area and became chief technology officer of Health and Human Services in August 2009. He appears to be relishing his new role; he’s behind efforts to boost transparency of health insurance data for Americans and to advocate for the federal government innovating its own role to serve as a better catalyst (and not a hindrance) to businesses.

The truth is that entrepreneurs and the feds are often marching down different paths. Yet the future vitality of the nation’s healthcare system has demanded that those separate paths converge (we’ve seen this to a certain extent with the billions of dollars in government incentives for electronic health records), and Park’s background as an entrepreneur appears to be the right fit for understanding how the government can work with business interests to foster innovation. Moreover, we expect to hear from Park about the concept of “Government 2.0” and how the government itself can innovate its practices.

In addition to Park, who will give a short overview talk to kick things off before joining an intimate, interactive panel discussion (read on), we’re extremely fortunate to have a lineup of fellow participants who will surely inject their own unique insights into this conversation about the future of health IT and where the government fits into the equation. In fact, we were able to recruit as a speaker Bob Higgins, a co-founder and general partner of Highland Capital Partners, who has experience both as a health IT investor and in government. (Early in his career, Higgins did stints in the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Treasury.) He’ll share the stage during our leaders’ panel with Rob Seliger, a general manager in the Microsoft Health Solutions Group. He took the job after selling Sentillion, a health IT firm he co-founded and led as CEO, to Microsoft in December 2009.

To moderate and guide the discussion among Park, Higgins, and Seliger, we’ve tapped Dana Callow, founder and managing general partner of Boston Millennia Partners and an experienced healthcare investor himself. We’re also leaving some open time in our agenda for quick looks at some new and exciting startup businesses and ideas in the Boston area’s health IT scene. And as always, there will be ample time for networking.

There should be plenty of money, brains, and power at this forum. We’re expecting this event to draw a lot of interest from entrepreneurs and innovators from around the region, so we encourage those who are interested to get their tickets here as soon as possible to reserve a seat. And those who grab tickets by end of day tomorrow can still get the special holiday discount, good for half off the regular price.