D'Arcy Gue

Big Changes at ONC / New Health IT Resources

August 9, 2013

Healthcare Industry, HIPAA & Security, ICD-10 3 Minute Read

Farzad Mostashari, M.D. is leaving his position as the National Coordinator of health IT

If you read any healthcare IT news this week, it was impossible to miss Farzad Mostashari’s resignation announcement. This fall, Mostashari will step down from his position as National Coordinator of health IT.

It is obvious that Mostashari has made a significant contribution to the world of health IT. In a message to all members of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), the national CMIO association, William F. Bria, M.D., chairman of AMDIS, wrote, “As you know, Farzad has been ‘one of us’ prior to and during his tenure with ONC to the great benefit of our organization and each one of us individually. It is indeed rare to have an individual who truly has ‘walked the walk’ of applied medical informatics in a position of authority, advocating and aiding this tremendous transformation of American healthcare through its early days.”

Now the question is, who will replace Mostashari when he leaves his position?

Who will be named the next ONC chief?

Amidst the news of Mostashari’s departure from ONC, there is speculation of who will replace him. Given his many accomplishments, it will not be an easy task.

Some options being discussed include professionals who were considered as replacements a few years ago for then outgoing ONC chief, David Blumenthal, M.D. There are also several people to consider who are currently working for ONC.

It will be interesting to watch the process and see the approach that a new chief will take in tackling the ever-growing issues of health IT. 2014 will be a big year for health IT. Hopefully, the replacement is prepared.

CMS publishes new resources to the eHealth website

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) published their eHealth website in March of this year. The site consolidates information and resources related health IT initiatives and incentive programs such as:

  • Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs
  • Quality Measurement Programs
  • e-Prescribing Program
  • ICD-10 Conversion

This week two new resources were added. One of them provides facts about administrative simplification and its connection to eHealth and the other guides providers through PQRS and the EHR Incentive Program.

Senior advisor for HIPAA Compliance advocates for increased testing and planning

Acting senior advisor for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement in the Office for Civil Rights, John Benevelli advocated for increased privacy and security in health IT at the recent eHealth Summit.

He discussed the importance of patient trust as part of a panel on privacy and security and made the statement that unless patients trust organizations, they may be unwilling to share their data, which could pose dangers to their health. He emphasized the need for healthcare providers to perform risk analyses and mitigation. “Risk analyses must be repeated as new devices come out” he said, “and sanctions put in place for violating policy.”

Data breaches seem to occur regularly. Unless providers prepare their systems to support increased privacy and security, data will continue to be compromised and trust will degrade.

What is Health Informatics?

This interesting infographic answers that question. It also provides great information about how the convergence of medicine, data, business and IT are benefiting the world of healthcare.

healthcare informatics



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