KPMG’s Tom Dowd Talks Strategies, Challenges, Benefits of Serving Federal Healthcare Community

KPMG’s Tom Dowd Talks Strategies, Challenges, Benefits of Serving Federal Healthcare Community - top government contractors - best government contracting event

For over two decades, Tom Dowd has dedicated himself to supporting health-focused government agencies in furthering their missions of providing health and social services to American citizens. Since the creation of KPMG’s federal healthcare sector over 10 years ago, Dowd has guided the company’s efforts to aid these organizations in implementing substantive healthcare-related initiatives.

Dowd began his career as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and has held positions at Deloitte, Gartner and SAIC, which propelled him to his current role of civilian sector and Health and Human Services lead at KPMG. Throughout his 11 years at the firm, Dowd has worked with federal agencies across numerous areas including the establishment of business and information technology strategies, operations and the management of critical health and social services initiatives.

ExecutiveBiz spoke with Dowd to learn more about the KPMG approach to implementing necessary programs within healthcare agencies, the benefits and challenges of putting these programs into action and the company values that help bring agency goals to fruition.

Can you provide an overview of KPMG’s Federal Healthcare practice or the firm’s experience serving the Department of Health and Human Services?

Just over a decade ago, KPMG leadership made a commitment to invest in building a Federal Healthcare practice serving departments and agencies holding a health mission, with the Department of Health and Human Services as the cornerstone of our effort. This was shortly after the Affordable Care Act was passed, so our initial work was focused on helping the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services establish and operationalize key ACA programs, many of which we continue to support today.

Helping our HHS clients navigate and respond to healthcare regulatory and policy changes is a significant focus area of our business. In addition to the ACA, we have been fortunate to help implement programs related to the DATA Act, No Surprises Act and CARES Act, to name a few. 

Implementing new programs is generally under the pressure of high visibility and tight timelines.  We work shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients and apply our experience and playbook to help establish and operate these programs.

We are also focused on helping our clients achieve program integrity. Health and social services programs are delivering important services to citizens funded by hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, so we work with our clients to implement effective internal controls, identify and uncover potential fraud and improper payments, and apply analytics to derive insights that help drive effectiveness, efficiency and compliance. Another critically important service area is helping our clients modernize back, middle and front office processes and systems to operate the business more efficiently and improve the employee and citizen experience. 

Across all business areas, we are applying human-centered design principles and embedding technology in just about everything we do, whether it is robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), cloud services, or data analytics. It is the force multiplier that helps our clients make faster and better-informed decisions to streamline work processes, improve productivity, and reduce costs. Ultimately, it is about working with our clients to allocate more funds to the mission and improve access to affordable health and social services.

Since our start, engaging KPMG commercial, state, and local health professionals in our work is a differentiator for us and has added real value for our clients. Our ability to provide a 360-degree perspective on a complex issue helps to fill in the gaps for our HHS clients and enables more confident and accelerated decision-making.

What are some of the key challenges and opportunities you see as you help HHS address an evolving healthcare environment and how are you helping them?

We are seeing a renewed focus and commitment to health equity across the federal government. HHS is already focused on enhancing the health and well-being of all Americans. KPMG is helping our clients open the aperture on health equity. 

One area of particular interest we are currently working on with HHS is bringing together and analyzing the vast amount of available data to improve access to care for underserved populations and communities. We have developed a health equity model that enables us to help our clients regardless of where they are on their journey. Our work with the HHS community is focused on building sustainable solutions that will continue to improve and evolve HHS-administered programs.

Not surprisingly, AI can deliver on the promise to dramatically drive productivity and efficiency, reduce costs, and improve decision-making capabilities. Some clients have made the leap while others are taking a more cautious approach. In these cases, we are working with government and technology leaders who are just getting started with pilot projects to see the power and value of AI/ML and advanced analytics.

On the flip side, we are working with clients who have fully embraced AI and are seeing real value. For example, in our recent Public Sector Technology report, our research revealed that 77 percent of those government sector organizations deploying ML are seeing a positive return on their investment. However, one of the challenges we see is that with the proliferation of AI, particularly as projects move from pilot to production, government leaders have less and less insight, oversight and control, thereby increasing risk. 

We are working with clients to apply the KPMG Accelerated AI Risk Framework and innovative KPMG solutions to help them understand, document and assess how AI is being used and identify the potential security, bias and other threats and risks. We aim to help to address these gaps through KPMG technology platforms, security solutions, governance, plans, policies, and controls.

Another area of opportunity we are seeing is helping our HHS clients assess and improve their supply chains. This includes work regarding supply chains that put important medical products in the hands of clinicians to care for patients as well as work to help clients better understand the risks and opportunities of supply chains that put food and life-saving pharmaceuticals in the homes of Americans.

Most of our focus right now is helping our HHS clients identify, document and assess risks and opportunities. By applying our supply risk assessment framework, human-centered design, digital twin and other analytical and modeling techniques, our clients have recognized and accepted the need to take bold steps to modernize their supply chains to achieve efficiency, control and resilience.

How does KPMG’s culture and its values drive your approach to the market?

Our culture and values are the underpinning of everything we do – how we work with one another and with our clients, the type of work we want to do and the clients we want to serve. I am very proud and humbled by the incredibly talented, collaborative and committed team that we have built to serve our HHS clients. They are equally passionate about helping HHS deliver on its mission, tackling hard problems and making a difference, which aligns with our company value of “For Better.”

Another value that is foundational to our market approach and client delivery is our commitment to integrity. This is a challenging and competitive business, and it is imperative that we do the right thing every time, no matter how difficult it may be. Integrity is a value that we will not compromise.

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Written by Ireland Degges

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