This Week Health

Drex DeFord

President of 229, Risk and Security

This Week Health

I'm a farm-kid from Indiana. With no money for college, I enlisted in the Air Force as an IT Specialist. While on active-duty and working full-time, I finished my undergrad in Business (Magna Cum Laude), and my first masters degree (Public Administration). The Air Force offered a direct commission as a USAF Officer (hospital administration) -- and I accepted.

As a USAF officer, I was the CIO at a small hospital; the Administrator of an Air Transportable Hospital (like an Air Force version of a MASH unit) during Desert Shield/Storm -- shot at and missed; Deputy CIO at the USAF School of Healthcare Sciences; completed a second masters (MS in Health Informatics), CIO at the Air Force's Largest Regional Command (14 hospitals and clinics across the Southern US); CIO at one of the AF's largest Medical Centers; went back to the Middle East to lead an expeditionary hospital supporting multi-national warfighters enforcing Iraqi No-Fly-Zone Operations (Operation Southern Watch); then off to Washington DC as the Chief Technology Officer for Air Force Health System's World-Wide Operations.  

After 20 years and 21 days of military service I retired from the USAF, and started a civilian career that's included CIO roles at Scripps Health, Seattle Children's, and Steward Healthcare, and CEO of Next Wave Connect.

I hung out my shingle as an independent consultant, launching drexio digital health in early 2015.  

Now, I am joining the This Week Health team as the President of 229, Risk and Security.



For many of these big tech companies, the innovation version they use is to go ahead and spend a lot of money and try a bunch of stuff. And if it doesn't work, that's okay. We learned something from that experiment that will roll into our next experiment.
The cyber E-crime syndicates are able to make so much money and take very little risk in actually being arrested or going to jail. It's a very lucrative business. And very lucrative businesses in the free market, even in the criminal world, get more money, get more investments and get people who want to be involved in cutting edge, bleeding edge high tech. And that's what a lot of the adversaries are today. They're high tech companies with CEOs and CFOs. They have bonus programs, they have employee of the month programs. Literally they have all the kinds of things that big companies have, they have all kinds of alliances with negotiators for ransom and all those things.
We are all in this healthcare business because we want to serve. And usually, for the most part, we are optimistic. We want the best things to happen. And so when we have Merger and Acquisition on the vendor side, and we have M&A on the provider side, we want all the right things to happen. And I think a lot of times when it comes together, we anticipate that all these good things are going to happen but as Mike Tyson says, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
The first thing I do in a new company is say, show me a list of all the contracts that we have and information services. A lot of this is like cybersecurity 101. Contract 101. You can't do something with it if you don't know what you have. Because ultimately what you want to try to do is fewer contracts and fewer agreements which means a simpler world that you live in.
People who have deployed computer systems and applications in big health systems or other environments have perspective. This is why we stand up war rooms on those initial deployments, because we know there's a zero percent chance we will get this a hundred percent right out of the gate. There's going to be a lot of complaints. There's going to be a lot of issues. We want them all to come to one place so that we can see them.
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