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Lygeia Ricciardi the Latest to Depart ONC

June 26, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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Lygeia Ricciardi

Lygeia Ricciardi, champion for patient engagement at the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), is the latest high-profile departure at the agency.

In an email to staff members, ONC chief, Karen DeSalvo, M.D. announced that Ricciardi, who headed up the ONC’s Office of Consumer eHealth for the last few years, would be leaving on July 25th of this year. Going forward, DeSalvo says that Erin Siminerio will serve as the point of contact for the Office of Consumer eHealth and they will be searching for a new director.

A few weeks back when DeSalvo detailed ONC’s realigned structure, Ricciardi’s name was conspicuously absent from its list of leaders. Former chief privacy officer at ONC, Joy Pritts’ name was on that list and later her departure was announced. The ONC has done some restructuring in the last few months as a result of funding from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) drying up.

“Lygeia has worked passionately to integrate the consumer perspective into everything we do at ONC, including shaping policy, standards, pilots, stakeholder engagement, and public outreach,” DeSalvo wrote in the email to staff members. “I am committed to and enthusiastic about the ongoing opportunities for ONC to support consumer engagement.”

Ricciardi notably helped ONC launch the Blue Button initiative globally, after it had a successful pilot with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The public-private partnership initiative, which promotes the usage of a simple blue button that allows patients to access their health data, now includes more than 500 influential provider organizations, health plans, pharmacies, labs, developers, consumer groups and federal agencies.

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