Dr. Farzad Mostashari is the new national coordinator for health information technology, the Department of Health & Human Services has announced. He replaces Dr. David Blumenthal, who said in February that he was stepping down this spring and returning to Harvard University. The appointment is effective today.
Mostashari joined the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in July 2009, with the official title of Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy. Before joining the ONC, Mostashari was assistant commissioner for the Primary Care Information Project (PCIP) in New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. PCIP serves as the regional extension center (REC) for the Big Apple and promotes technology related to the patient-centered medical home and cardiovascular health.
Previous roles for Mostashari include establishing New York City’s Bureau of Epidemiology Services and leading citywide projects focused on health informatics and care quality. Like Blumenthal, the new national coordinator was once a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Mostashari’s first real test will be the proposed accountable care organization (ACO) rule. The new national coordinator has suggested that its objectives align with meaningful use criteria, as well as the Beacon Community and other information exchange goals.
The IT investment necessary to make accountable care organizations work, though, will be a hard sell. Add to that the sheer magnitude of Blumenthal’s legacy — the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, the health information exchange (HIE) initiatives, the regional extension centers, the community college education grants and Beacon Communities — and it’s quite clear that Mostashari has his work cut out for him.