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Q&A with Brian Hasselfeld: Johns Hopkins’ Point Person for Digital Health Strategies


Learn about the health system’s strategy regarding use of telemedicine, big data and other technologies to improve patient access and care.

Brian Hasselfeld joined Johns Hopkins Medicine in July in the newly created position of assistant medical director for digital health innovations in the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians.

His job calls for guiding clinicians and shaping the institution’s strategy regarding use of telemedicine, big data and other technologies to improve patient access and care.

Hasselfeld, who is also interim medical director of the Office of Telemedicine, practices internal medicine and pediatrics at Canton Crossing, where he plans to offer video visits to pediatric and adult patients.

In a Q&A with BestPractice, Hasselfeld discusses his new role and what he sees as the future of digital health innovation at Johns Hopkins.

Q: How does your background prepare you for this job?

A: In my role as Johns Hopkins’ point person for digital health strategies, I bring perspectives and experience in finance, entrepreneurship, technology and medicine.

I’m the oldest of four in a family of accountants. I studied computer science, math and economics at Vanderbilt University, then went to Wall Street as an investment banker.

When a younger brother, still in his teens, was diagnosed with cancer, I decided to pursue a health care career. I went to medical school at Tulane University, and did my residency at Brigham and Women’s and Boston Children’s hospitals. In both New Orleans and Boston, I worked for groups that helped faculty develop digital health care tools and bring them to market, and I learned how to develop virtual connected care and digital health as a care delivery strategy.

Q: What does your job entail?

A: I have two main goals. One is to think through a digital strategy for our care delivery system and effectively communicate it to providers and leadership. The other is to be a point of contact for clinicians pursuing digital health strategies.

So, for example, I am working with the established team at the Office of Telemedicine to support its great work improving convenience and access for patients through programs like in-home video follow-ups for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and subspecialty video follow-ups for children with complex medical conditions or who live far away from our children’s center.

I’m also a resource for the software development group within the Technology Innovation Center, supporting clinicians who want to move forward with their digital-based ideas for improving care, and I’ll be advising our Hexcite accelerator for the next cohort of clinician-led digital innovations.

In addition, I’m working to support a clinical-based business plan for our leadership in data and analytics with our precision medicine inHealth initiative. I’m also working with our Home Care Group, which has done an excellent job with remote patient monitoring, to think through ways to expand use of home-based devices to provide convenient wraparound care for our patients.

Q: What are some of the challenges and opportunities for Johns Hopkins?

The opportunities are tremendous, particularly as we embrace the concept of total cost of care and think about how technology can fill gaps so patients don’t turn as often to urgent care or emergency rooms.

Operationally, we’re working closely with our payers, legal counsel, billing team and government affairs team to ensure Johns Hopkins telemedicine fits safely into the complex health care delivery system.

The health care marketplace is evolving. The millennial generation, now the largest cohort for adult medicine, is increasingly receptive to digital solutions. Payers are slowly but steadily shifting toward reimbursement for telemedicine as a cost effective and clinically viable model for care delivery.

We’re going to grow our digital presence in a way that maintains the quality associated with Johns Hopkins.

We have the benefits of the provider-patient relationship and the association of our Johns Hopkins name with quality. We can’t sacrifice those things in order to move fast, but we do need to keep pace with a competitive landscape.

Digital Health Resources

Office of Telemedicine helps clinicians across Johns Hopkins Medicine use technology to deliver high quality, coordinated and personalized care.

The Technology Innovation Center provides engineering and design expertise for researchers and providers working to create digital health care solutions.

Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures helps inventors and entrepreneurs license and launch their innovations.

Johns Hopkins precision medicine initiative, inHealth, helps researchers use technology and large data sets to measure disease characteristics and identify patterns in groups of patients.

Contact Brian Hasselfeld at 410-955-2600 or

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