Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Health Level Seven Inc. (HL7) passed through its teen years, relying ever more heavily on volunteers, but at the ripe old age of 20 the organization was reaching the bounds of its effectiveness. To achieve recognition as a professional organization, the board of directors for the standards development group formalized a transition plan and began an executive search for a CEO.
According to Wes Rishel, research vice president of Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner and chair of the search committee, the group was looking for a business level connection with the stakeholder community. It wanted someone with a keen understanding of the business and the ability to communicate a value proposition. HL7 found the candidate it wanted in Charles Jaffe, M.D., but lacked financing to support its ambition.
"There is almost no other vendor that has a dog in our fight that we'd make such an arrangement with," Rishel says. "To us, Intel is Switzerland. The company has done so much on a pro bono basis."
Stepping in to support the transition and pay Jaffe's salary for the first year was his former employer, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel. "There is almost no other vendor that has a dog in our fight that we'd make such an arrangement with," Rishel says. "To us, Intel is Switzerland. The company has done so much on a pro bono basis."
A member of HL7 for 14 years, serving on various technical and operational committees, Jaffe brings deep business experience to the standards development organization. He will continue to serve as senior global strategist for the Digital Health Group at Intel Corporation. Former positions include vice president of life sciences at SAIC and director of medical informatics at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
"It is humbling to lead an organization that has accomplished so much in the last 20 years," says Jaffe. "HL7 has contributed to the vision of the EHR. It has developed relationships with government, with caregivers and defined a model for data sharing. HL7 has been the proving ground for developing standards." But there is so much yet to accomplish.
In addition to helping define, lead and refine the business operations for the evolving organization and its structure, Jaffe will be a global ambassador, speaking not only to U.S. interests, but to the international community, helping to drive global healthcare IT interoperability.