Matthew Quinn leaves FCC healthcare post for Intel role

Matthew Quinn has served as the director of healthcare initiatives for the Federal Communications Commission for the past year, but as of this Monday he returns  to the private sector. He will be Intel’s East Coast managing director for healthcare and life sciences . That’s setting up an interesting perspective for another upcoming role — […]

Matthew Quinn has served as the director of healthcare initiatives for the Federal Communications Commission for the past year, but as of this Monday he returns  to the private sector. He will be Intel’s East Coast managing director for healthcare and life sciences .

That’s setting up an interesting perspective for another upcoming role — a panelist at the upcoming ENGAGE conference. Quinn is part of a panel that will talk about how technology is being used to improve access to healthcare for hard to reach patients.

In a phone interview with MedCity News, Quinn talked about his work at the FCC and what he’s looking forward to accomplishing at Intel.

Part of the role at the FCC has been serving as a point person between the FCC and collaborating with other agencies, such as Health Resources and Services Administration, the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Veterans Administration, and the FDA to improve communication on healthcare policy issues.

The role has also entailed pursuing equivalency of access to broadband, from people with disabilities, non native English speakers and wiring schools and libraries. Quinn is especially excited about helping rural providers increase broadband access to support telemedicine. The Rural Healthcare program has been around for years, and the healthcare connect fund allows for broadband subsidies by consortia applicants — two or more healthcare providers. It received 50 grant applications in seven years, according to Quinn, but thanks to greater outreach with groups such as regional extension centers, it has received more than 100 grant applicants in the past nine months.

The addition of a pre-conference symposium for rural communities at HIMSS led to the creation of a rural healthcare community to share best practices, make more efficient use of staff and technology, share problem solving tips and hold quarterly meetings on WebEx.

“I really want to see the FCC stay engaged in the future use of the application of broadband incentives to shape the ability of using telemedicine to ensure people and areas are not left behind,” said Quinn.

Quinn’s hybrid health IT background in the private and public sectors gives him an interesting perspective on how technology can improve care, but it’s also made him aware of what needs to be improved. Visualization would be at the top of that list. For Quinn, developers need to spend more time thinking about the appearance and usability of devices, whether they will be used by doctors, African-American mothers or seniors with chronic conditions. Otherwise, “it’s like baking a cake without the flour.”

He brings up Lyfechannel as a great example of a company taking the right approach to usability and visualization, particularly because it took the time to buy breakfast for members of its target audience  — seniors  — and ask them what they needed to use its price comparison app.

“Inclusion is a great entrepreneurship opportunity but it also opens the door for having that user-centered design process from the start.”

He points to a recent survey in which 80 percent of African-American mothers said they want to use digital health tools but only 13 percent do because they’re not well designed.

On the other hand, some basic not very technical programs are also helping connect people on low incomes to healthcare. Lifeline, for example, is a FCC program that provides phone service with free minutes to low- income households so they can reach nurse call lines and their health plans. The program has evolved since it began under Reagan and came under a shadow at one point for fraud and abuse. But after introducing reforms in 2012, it introduced a broadband pilot program to expand broadband access and to increase digital literacy training.

One area where Quinn sees the program’s potential to make difference is improving outcomes for high risk pregnancies among low-income mothers. Lifeline partner Voxiva, for example, sends text message alerts to women with educational tips about their pregnancy, caring for their baby and their baby’s development through its text4baby service.

Looking ahead, Quinn said the opportunity at Intel “is a really cool and exciting one. Part of it involves thinking about digitization of healthcare for a company that benefits from the digitization of healthcare…and how to overcome technical, cultural and financial barriers.

Quinn adds that he’s enjoyed working for the government for the past seven years. “When you come into work everyday, knowing that your paycheck is being paid for by tax payers, you owe it to them to do the best you can,” said Quinn. “What I am really excited about is getting consumers more involved in their healthcare and trying out new models…around smartphones, data analytics and cloud computing.”