#Innovidual Don Kosiak
We’re a company full of innovative individuals, or as we call them, #innoviduals. This recurring series highlights some of our best and brightest employees by sharing their unique wisdom and technical know-how. This month’s #innovidual is Dr. Don Kosiak, Chief Medical Officer at Leidos.
Tell us a little about your job and the responsibilities that come with it.
I’m an emergency medicine physician and the Chief Medical Officer for Leidos Health. As the Chief Medical Officer, my job is to take all of the great things that Leidos does in other areas and put a healthcare perspective on those opportunities.
Why is innovation important in your role?
To me, innovation is important for lots of different reasons but learning to do things better and smarter will never hurt us as a society and will help lead us to better outcomes. As an example, if I can find a way to aggregate my medical data that resides in different organizations such as the Department of Defense, the VA, my community hospital, my insurance company, and put all that data into one place so that I can normalize it, view it, so that providers can make decisions about my healthcare, and help me live a better, happier life and make me a healthier patient, it’s a win for everyone.
What would be real innovation in healthcare?
Healthcare, for the large part, is broken. It’s a siloed mess, if you will, of activity that takes place in a transactional way. And like many industries that have gone through transformation, healthcare is ripe for disruptive innovation.
Disruptive innovation means that we are going to take outside forces or internal forces and do things a different way, look at things in a more meaningful way, such as understanding that your outcomes are more predictive based off the zip code in which you work and live in than your genetic code. And how do we start solving for some of those social or behavioral determinants, like ‘I live in a place that doesn’t have a grocery store where I can get healthy food,’ or ‘I don’t have a ride to go to my doctor’s appointment,’ or ‘I have to make a choice between food or medicine, and I choose food?’
If we can figure out ways to disrupt the industry and allow us to take better care of our patients and their families, we’re truly going to have better outcomes and save costs at the same time.
Are there innovations or individuals that inspire your work?
As a member of the U.S. Military and a card-carrying member of the VA, that group of patients and their families in particular have inspired me to continue to find new and innovative ways to make their lives and their healthcare better. There was a promise that was made to them that when they put on that uniform and they went and did hard and horrible things, we would take care of them and their families when they returned. So, every day when I come to work, I remember that mission that is so vital to that population, as well as Leidos employees, to really get to the bottom of solving healthcare challenges and opportunities.
What does innovation look like for Leidos Health?
The challenges of disparate data are not new to other industries and Leidos, in its history, has been at the forefront of aggregating data, normalizing data, and presenting it to an operator so that operator can make an informed decision about the next step in a pathway, whether that pathway is launching artillery or flying an airplane or managing comprehensive joint replacement for a patient. So, we’re using the tools and technology that are part of the Leidos culture and the Leidos history, applying them in new and different ways in the healthcare space, and taking that data and normalizing it for patients. This is so that we can see a patient through their entire longitudinal journey and help them map out what the next 26 weeks are going to look like when they’re sitting in their doctor’s office, being told they have a lump on their breast, or they need a knee replacement and they’re worried about what the next 12 weeks hold. We can now help standardize that process, feed it with data, and predict where things might go awry, so that we can give them the best outcomes.
Like anything else, healthcare is a bell-shaped curve — there are some that perform really poorly and some that perform really well, and everybody else is lumped in the middle. Our job at Leidos is to help push healthcare towards the right end of the bell-shaped curve and to help normalize that process so that everybody can be guaranteed great care, at the right place, at the right time.