Dr Farzad Mostashari to Leave as ONC Chief

Dr Farzard Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will be leaving his post after 2 years of service.

Dr Farzard Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will be leaving his post after 2 years of service. Dr Mostashari's efforts have contributed to the growing adoption of “meaningful use” in electronic health records (EHRs) among hospitals and other healthcare providers nationwide.

“During this time of great accomplishment, Farzad has been an important adviser to me and many of us across the department,” said Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary, in an announcement. “His expertise, enthusiasm, and commitment to innovation and health IT will surely be missed. In the short term, he will continue to serve in this role while a search is underway for a replacement. Please join me in wishing Farzad all the best in his future endeavors.”

Dr Mostashari is the 4th National Coordinator to serve in the position since its implementation to oversee the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic Health (HITECH) Act. Dr Mostashri noted that EHRs have seen immense progress in the last few years due to provider incentives that drive broader health technology use.

His experience with technology does not seem to stop at the healthcare front; Dr Mostashari took to Twitter to confirm the end of an “era” saying, “It's true “@Cascadia: New era coming as @Farzad_ONC announces he is leaving @ONC_HealthIT.”

The news of Dr Mostashari’s departure continues to stir buzz as to who will fill his shoes. Many healthcare professionals see Dr Mostashari’s exit as an unfortunate one.

“I think Farzad has done a very good job,” said Dr Kevin Fickenscher, president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association. “He's taken us through this initial period of meaningful use, which has been controversial. There have been lots of discussions around the direction we were taking. I think Farzad has done a good job of listening and setting a sense of direction. Fifteen years ago, a lot of this was theory and ideas. The systems weren't at a point that we could affectively deploy them in the way we are today. He's taken it from sort of the bench to the application.”

Dr Fickenscher added that while the announcement prepares the ONC and gives the industry time for a smoother transition, there are still many concerns that must be addressed in order to continue establishing higher standards in health information technology use across the industry.

Dr Farzard Mostashari has yet to announce his post-ONC plans, but will still be serving as a guest editor to the American Journal of Managed Care Health Information Technology Special Issue, due out later this year.

Around the Web

Meaningful Use of HIT in the Managed Care Setting [AJMC]

Electronic Health Record Use on Rise [AJMC]

Mostashari to Step Down; Health IT Leaders Hail ONC Chief's Efforts [Modern Healthcare]

Meaningful Use of HIT in the Managed Care Setting