HL20: Fred Trotter—Balancing Skepticism, Crowdsourcing, and Big Ideas in Healthcare IT

Scott Mace, December 20, 2013

Fred Trotter has written a book called Hacking Healthcare, but now he is going to try Hacking HIPAA. That's the name of Trotter's newest venture, a crowdfunded project aimed at circumventing standards bodies and sluggish healthcare giants in order to bring HIPAA into the 21st century.

This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

At an impromptu lunchtime gathering in Silicon Valley's Computer History Museum, Fred Trotter is drawing lines and boxes on a whiteboard. From around the room, other programmers, healthcare IT experts, and a privacy expert or two toss in suggestions. Trotter excitedly adds to the drawing, challenging some suggestions as he goes, accepting others, and even raising a skeptical eyebrow at his own work.

It's all in a day's work—and play—for the author of Hacking Healthcare, who this May day was helping lay the groundwork for a crowdfunding project known as Hacking HIPAA, which tries to circumvent ponderous standards bodies, sluggish large healthcare giants, and secretive startups to bring HIPAA into the 21st century by clever coding and collaboration.

Trotter will be the first to tell you this work sure beats trying to change things by legislation. If anyone can pull it off through the wisdom of crowds, it's Fred.

"More and more I have been doing things where somebody decides to pay my bills for a little while, and I go and do what I think is the most interesting thing ever," Trotter says.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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