Mostashari To Step Down From Top ONC Post This Fall

After two and a half years, Farzad Mostashari, MD, is leaving his post as national coordinator for health information technology this fall.

Mostashari succeeded David Blumenthal, MD, as the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in April 2011, after having joined the ONC in 2009. Mostashari’s efforts to advance the goals of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program and other health IT initiatives drew praise from across the health IT industry when his resignation was announced on Tuesday, August 6.

In a statement officially announcing his departure, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Mostashari “has seen through the successful design and implementation of ONC’s HITECH programs, which provide health IT training and guidance to communities and providers; linked the meaningful use of electronic health records to population health goals; and laid a strong foundation for increasing the interoperability of health records—all while ensuring the ultimate focus remains on patients and their families.”

In an e-mail to his colleagues at ONC announcing his resignation, Mostashari put his career and his work at ONC in a much more personal context, describing the frustration he felt at not being able to read the handwriting on a paper copy, or gain access to electronic copies, of his mother’s medical records during a life-threatening medical emergency.

In the e-mail, Mostashari writes, “My mom has recovered now. Her hospital is working to implement new systems to provide accountable care. Her prescriptions and health records are electronic and can be shared across the state. Like 37 million other elderly Americans, we can access her medical history with her Medicare Blue Button records on her mobile phone.”

Although Mostashari did not articulate his motivations for entering the field of health IT in his e-mail, he did connect personal experiences with professional decisions. In that spirit, we invite AHIMA members to share their reasons for choosing and—more importantly—staying in the HIM profession.

In light of Mostashari’s departure, what do you see as some of the biggest changes in the industry during his tenure at ONC, since he joined the agency in 2009, and when he took over as director in 2011? Finally, what would you like to see from ONC going forward, from ONC and from Mostashari’s successor? Feel free to share your sentiments in the comments section below.


1 Comment

  1. Dr. Mostashari has done a great deal to move the country forward in terms of EMR implementation and use to MEASURABLY improve the quality of care we as physicians can provide. This impact will be felt far into the future. Thank You!

    As for the future of the ONC I think they are pointed in the right direction…i.e. outcomes. In the end it is not the technology that matters to our patients (and their families) but it is the outcomes. We now have the tools to measure these outcomes (and take action) and that I feel is where we are compelled to go as practicing physicians.

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