Health IT turns toward data

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Morgan Crafts Morgan Crafts, Northrop Grumman’s director of health IT.

The United States has a lot of medical records. Referrals, prescriptions, doctor visits and test results all pile into a huge amorphous being of data. Morgan Crafts, Northrop Grumman’s director of health IT, is trying to manage that monster.

With 18 years of experience under his belt, Crafts oversees the innovation and realization of health technology.

“I work with a very eclectic group, scientific and tech Ph.D.s, software developers and engineers,” he said.

Crafts’ job with Northrop Grumman reaches from infrastructure to software in creating new ways to lower costs and making easier ways to access data.

Crafts’ team is currently working on applying analytics for user interfaces in medical software.

“It’s about how you access your data,” he said. You may have seen a doctor use a computer or iPad to take down your symptoms and medical data. Crafts is standardizing that on a national scale.

Data collection can be used on a grand scale for predictive modeling purposes. Predictive models make simulations and look for future trends in health. According to Crafts, this helps hospitals and health facilities prepare for when they need regular or emergency staff, or when more employees need to be working.

Northrop Grumman has also worked with the Department of Veterans affairs to create a mobile application for Blue Button, a capability that allows veterans to download their medical data. Now, the team is trying to make the downloading more secure for the VA’s 29 million patients.

One of Crafts’ responsibilities is cultivating university research and innovation.

“Universities are very good at creative ideas, but not so good at getting diffused in the market,” Crafts said. He finds ways to fund these projects and put them under Northrop Grumman’s wing so they can be incorporated into a useful system.

“I have a great job,” Crafts said. Crafts began his work in IT after finishing his degree at the University of Virginia. He then moved to Saudi Arabia helping to build and manage a city for Bechtel.

After coming back to the United States, he began working on a project with the Centers for Disease Control developing software to manage the nation’s blood supply. He later went on to become Northrop Grumman’s program director for CDC, where his team grew from 650 to 1,300.

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