I recently met with Gary Nakamoto, Chairman of Base Technologies, and spoke about a range of topics including how Base Technologies has kept on growing in a down economy, the Obama administration’s fiscal priorities, cloud computing and how to effect meaningful improvements to healthcare through technology.
Base Technologies, a leading IT services provider, has been a player in the federal IT space since 1987, and Chairman Nakamoto attributes its longevity to its solid business fundamentals, “in one word ““ people” as he put it. BaseTech’s key to success is “very highly qualified good people, people of good character that reflect both knowledge of the past, knowledge now and very eager to go out and seek improvements.”
They“™re looking to expand their current line of business with “DHS, NIH, Treasury and MHS.“Mr. Nakamoto said that BaseTech has done some green IT work through what’s called TDM, or Travel Demand Management, “we help do ride sharing, telework and all of the things that you would want to do to utilize technology to get cars off the road and make people happier and more productive.”
That’s where the money is, areas of critical importance like “healthcare, security, of course any DOD operations,” he says. While everyone in the federal government might be talking about cloud computing right now, “one thing that people need to realize about the federal government that it kind of tends to move in an evolutionary process rather than a revolutionary.” While transformational might be a buzz word in Washington, “it costs a lot of money and there are a lot of requirements and it is just an enormous process.”
The key to success for the federal government in cloud computing will be “a good requirements analysis.” He said, “Change for change’s sake without thinking about everything can be both costly, time consuming and not as productive if you begin your journey on the right step. They need to get out and talk and set things up to better achieve their missions whatever that is. Whether cloud computing is the next big thing we will just have to see.”
According to Mr. Nakamoto, “the strength of technology is flexibility, accessibility, affordability, safety, security and it“™s got to make you more productive,” and that statement underpins his views on technology in healthcare.
“The patient is more important than the process,” he says. Healthcare IT can’t just be used so a care provider can “check it off,” so to speak. “If you don“™t take care of the patient in a meaningful and sincere way and you are more interested in just process then something gets lost in the mix. It“™s like walking and chewing gum, you can follow a process but the process should never come at the price of the patient.”
The human element is what is too often left out of the healthcare equation, according to Mr. Nakamoto, “for every patient you have to have a good doctor, a good nurse and a quality staff.” He’s “a little disappointed in the job training” put forward by DOL ostensibly to prepare America for widespread health IT adoption “because I don“™t think it really reflects what people need and the direction of our country and how we compete in the world.” He said, that he would like to see “a lot more money put into higher education and vocational education.”
He urges caution when approaching the healthcare issue from a legislative standpoint, “I think healthcare is a moral bond between the patient, the families and the doctor and I really prefer the carrot rather than the stick. I think you have to be careful when you legislate and think about the unintended consequences because at the heart of healthcare you want it to be accessible, affordable and probably the most important thing is you want high quality care.”
For Mr. Nakamoto, the key to success in business, healthcare, IT consolidation or government has been attending to the human element with thorough planning. Judging from his track record in business, I’m inclined to agree.