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Former Minnesota CIO to Head AHRQ

May 9, 2017
by David Raths
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Gopal Khanna led Illinois Healthcare & Human Services Innovation Incubator

Although there hasn’t yet been an official announcement from the Trump Administration, Gopal Khanna has been named the new director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), according to an email Tuesday from the agency's acting director, Sharon Arnold, M.D.

Khanna served as Minnesota’s first statewide chief information officer and more recently led a statewide Healthcare & Human Services Innovation Incubator (HHSi2) for the State of Illinois. The state is piloting a data sharing and interoperability initiative that will better connect government health and human services IT with other critical government functions including justice, workforce and education.

He comes to AHRQ at a challenging time. The agency has long been a target of Congressional Republicans, and the federal budget proposal that the Trump administration announced on March 16 includes included a provision folding AHRQ into he National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Douglas Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), issued a statement saying AMIA looks forward to working with Director Khanna to ensure that the important informatics research AHRQ funds remains core to its mission “to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable.” 

Fridsma added that while AMIA appreciates Congressional acknowledgement of AHRQ’s importance in the FY17 appropriations bill signed by the President last week, the organization urges Congress to increase AHRQ funding in FY18, signaling their continued commitment to improving our nation’s health and care delivery system.

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