On August 6, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced, via an e-mail, to the staff at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that Farzad Mostashari, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, will be stepping down this fall. In her e-mail message, Sebelius wrote, “Farzad has been a leader in the Office of the National coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) for the last four years. Farzad joined the office in 2009 as Principal Deputy National Coordinator and took over as the National Coordinator in 2011. During his tenure,” Sebelius wrote, “ONC has been at the forefront of the designing and implementing a number of initiatives to promote the adoption of health IT among healthcare providers. Farzad has seen through the successful design and implementation of ONC’s HITECH programs; linked the meaningful use of electronic health records to population health goals; and laid a strong foundation for increasing the interoperability of health records—all while ensuring the ultimate focus remains on patients and their families."
Dr. Mostashari tweeted the following message at approximately 11 AM eastern time on Tuesday: “It’s true ‘@Cascadia: New era coming as @Farzad_ONC announces he is leaving @ONC_HealhtIT.” Some reports indicated that Mostashari was leaving public service altogether.
Meanwhile, in an online message to all members of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), the national CMIO association, William F. Bria, M.D., chairman of AMDIS, wrote, “As you know, Farzad has been ‘one of us’ prior to and during his tenure with ONC to the great benefit of our organization and each one of us individually. It is indeed rare to have an individual who truly has ‘walked the walk’ of applied medical informatics in a position of authority, advocating and aiding this tremendous transformation of American healthcare through its early days.”
This is a developing news story. Healthcare Informatics will continue to keep its readers updated.