Tech leaders who joined the president, like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, specifically encouraged Trump to make it easier for companies to sell off-the-shelf technologies to the feds. Others, like John Doerr, a top Silicon Valley venture capitalist, touted the need for regulators to release more of their data so that startups — including, perhaps, some of his own — can use those insights in areas like health care.
Two months later, those leaders' representatives joined a Thursday call with the White House, as did officials from Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, Mastercard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, sources said.
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Along with a preview of the administration's new plans to convene "centers of excellence," they heard from Reed Cordish, one of Trump's top tech aides, who pledged that the White House would continue its efforts to boost computer science education. Sources said the administration specifically is exploring how to expand Trump's recent executive order targeting apprenticeship programs to include K-12 education.
Computer science is an issue Apple CEO Tim Cook raised with the president during tech week: The tech executive specifically floated coding education as a requirement in schools.
For now, though, it's unclear how the White House's newest plan meshes with existing government teams, including 18F, an initiative launched by former President Barack Obama to help the lumbering federal bureaucracy improve the way it buys and uses technology.
A spokesman for Kushner's Office of American Innovation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier Thursday, though, Kushner's office helped Trump unveil a new set of tech tools at the Department of Veterans Affairs — an agency long maligned for its long wait times and tech troubles.
Flanked by Trump at the White House, VA officials demonstrated their new telehealth app, which allows medical professionals in its network to meet and diagnose their veteran patients over video that's streamed to smartphones, tablets or desktop. The system has been in development since last year, and the department will aim to roll it out nationwide over the course of 2017.
"We're launching the mobile app that will allow VA patients to schedule and change their appointments at VA facilities using their smartphones," Trump said. "So this is something they were never able to do. Technology has given us this advantage, but unfortunately we have not taken advantage of that until now."
—By Tony Romm, Re/code.net.
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