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HIMSS and CHIME voice concerns about ONC leadership changes

Motivated by recent and upcoming leadership transitions within ONC, members of the College of Healthcare Information and Management Executives (CHIME) and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) addressed a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, HHS secretary, to express concerns and make recommendations for the future of ONC.

While praising Karen DeSalvo’s appointment as HHS acting assistant secretary of health, HIMSS and CHIME expressed their concerns about the departures of most of ONC’s senior leadership including Doug Fridsma, former chief science officer, Judy Murphy, former chief nursing officer and Jacob Reider,  ex-deputy national coordinator. In the letter, both organizations made it clear they believe that changes in leadership could have a detrimental effect on ONC’s role in addressing health IT issues.

“We urge you to fill all ONC leadership positions as soon as possible with well-respected leaders who possess a combination of clinical training and practice, clinical and business information expertise and a clear vision for IT’s role in enabling healthcare transformation and experience in public policy,” the letter, signed by four HIMSS and CHIME officials, stated.

Some of the IT issues HIMSS and CHIME deem urgent to address once ONC’s leadership is clearly settled include:

  • Keeping the interoperability roadmap on its current trajectory and actively involving all stakeholders in its development;
  • The future of the meaningful use program, including the challenges associated with transitioning into 2014 certified EHR technology and a full year reporting period for 2015;
  • Appropriately mitigating patient safety risks through a risk-based approach and
  • Supporting the development of health IT tools including EHRs, personal health records, mobile technologies and data infrastructure for patients.

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