With National HIT Coordinator Karen DeSalvo recently transferred to another position in the Department of Health and Human Services to assist in Ebola management work, many other officials leaving in recent months and Jacob Reider soon also to depart, there has been talk of a brain drain at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Only two of the top 10 leaders from the Farzad Mostashari era remain.
But a brain drain, or at least new blood, is exactly what ONC needs. Make no mistake; those who leave their private sector posts to serve in public office give up a lot and are due a measure of respect. They are called public servants for a reason.
Still, it must be said: This was the group--exempting DeSalvo who only served for 10 months--that did not listen enough to industry stakeholders who constantly warned that ONCs vision of Stage 2 was too ambitious and too fast. This was the group--along with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services--responsible for the debacle that is Stage 2.
Think of all the incremental fixes made this summer and early fall to Stage 2, all too little and too late, and yet possibly the biggest problem--a 365-day reporting period in 2015 that common sense says is not possible for most providers--remains on the books.
And then there was the silly decision at HHS to continue to have DeSalvo lead ONC while also continuing her special assignment work on Ebola--undercutting COO and Acting National Coordinator Lisa Lewis--because some stakeholders whined about DeSalvos transfer. Now, we have an ONC with two bosses, which cant be an improvement.
For now, lets welcome the new gang at ONC with new ideas and insights, and hopefully better ears.
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