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HHS health IT chief to step down

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 19, 2013

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The physician leading the nationwide health information technology adoption effort for the Dept. of Health and Human Services announced he is leaving the Obama administration.

Farzad Mostashari, MD, will leave his post as head of the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT this fall after serving in the position for two years, he stated in an Aug. 6 email to staff. ONC, created in 2004, organizes federal efforts to spur adoption of electronic health records and other technology, and to set standards for systems physicians use in their practices.

Dr. Mostashari, an internist, is widely regarded as energetic, charismatic and passionate about health technology and its benefits for patient care. He has testified during congressional hearings about the administration’s role in certifying electronic health record systems, and he publicly has opposed any delay in progress made on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ EHR meaningful use incentive program. Many organized medicine groups, including the American Medical Association, have called for CMS and ONC to postpone stage 2 of the meaningful use program, which is set to begin for some doctors in 2014.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society thanked Dr. Mostashari for his commitment to advocating for health IT.

“HIMSS appreciates Dr. Mostashari’s remarkable achievements as national coordinator for health IT and beyond,” said Carla Smith, executive vice president of HIMSS, in a statement. “Thanks to his energetic leadership, patient care is improving as providers and hospitals are implementing health IT, efficient information exchange is leading to better care coordination, and consumers are engaging as partners in their own health.”

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