Lenel James, MBA, FHL7
Business Lead, Health Information Exchange and Innovation
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Chicago, IL 60601


Mr. James is the Business Lead for Health Information Exchange and Innovation at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), on the Health Information Technology (HIT) team. He has been with the Association for over 20 years and is the principal HIT and standards advisor for internal BCBSA proof-of-concept projects with technology partners and BCBS Plans on the effective use of industry standards and innovative use of technology.

Mr. James has been the BCBSA HL7 voting representative for 19 years. He has been the payer advisor champion for multiple HL7 FHIR Accelerators including the Da Vinci Project, for value-based care health data exchange, the Gravity Project, for Social Determinants of Health, and is a founding member of the FHIR-At-Scale Taskforce, for FHIR standard scalability. He has served as co-chair for the HL7 EHR (Electronic Health Records) Workgroup and the HL7 Payer User Group and currently participates in numerous workgroups. He also has co-authored multiple HL7 standards.

In addition to his extensive standards development organization involvement, Mr. James has received industry recognition. In 2006, he received the “Award of Merit” from WEDI (Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange) and was named the HL7 “Member of the Year.” In 2019, he received the HL7 John Quinn Fellowship Award, for more than 15 years of leadership and increasing payer community engagement in HL7.

As part of his 35+ years of experience in clinical information systems, and information technology strategic planning, Mr. James also spent five years as the Acting Director of Clinical Systems for the IT Department of the third largest public hospital in the USA – giving him both a health system and payer perspective on the challenges for the health care industry.

As part of his history of community engagement, Mr. James was a member of the Executive Committee of the Great Lakes Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC-V). The RHEC was part of an HHS Office of Minority Health initiative, the National Program for Action to End Healthcare Disparities, where he co-chaired the Social Determinates of Health Committee. He also co-founded and co-chaired the Cross-RHEC Community Health Worker Coalition (representing four regions across over 25 states).

Mr. James holds a BS degree from SIU-Edwardsville and MBA from the University of Illinois. He was appointed to NCVHS in 2023, serving on the Subcommittee on Standards.