Mostashari to step down as the head of health IT

'Farzad has been an excellent visionary and leader,' hospital CIO says

National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari has announced that he will resign in the fall after serving two years in the role, Modern Healthcare reports.

Background on Mostashari

Mostashari was named to the post in April 2011 after serving as deputy national coordinator since July 2009. Mostashari succeeded David Blumenthal and was the fourth national coordinator for health IT since the position was established by former President George W. Bush in 2004.

Mostashari is a recognized expert on disease outbreak investigation and using electronic tools for disease surveillance. He also was one of the first developers of real-time electronic disease surveillance systems in the country, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

During his tenure as national coordinator, Mostashari has promoted widespread health IT adoption by touting the meaningful use program and other initiatives, according to CQ HealthBeat.

Details of announcement

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Mostashari's departure in an email to staffers on Tuesday. In the short term, Mostashari will continue to serve as the agency searches for a replacement, she said.

Mostashari has not disclosed the reason for his departure, according to EHR Intelligence. In an email to staff members at ONC, Mostashari said, "I don't know what I will be doing after I leave public service."

He added that while there "are formidable challenges still ahead for [the health IT] community, and for ONC ... none [are] more difficult than what we have already accomplished."

Stakeholders praise Mostashari

Marc Probst—CIO at Intermountain Healthcare—said, "Farzad has been an excellent visionary and leader in taking the initial efforts of...Blumenthal and maintaining momentum and excitement regarding" health IT. He added, "I have been particularly impressed with Farzad's attention to detail and focus on implementing [health IT] standards, which can dramatically enhance interoperability and innovation."

John Halamka—CIO of Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston— said, "Working with Farzad has been an extraordinary experience," adding, "His focus on public health and patient/family engagement has had an enormous impact. My greatest lesson learned from Farzad is to [choose] policy goals first, then implement IT to support them, rather than implement technology for technology's sake" (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 8/6 [subscription required]; Manos, Healthcare IT News, 8/6; Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 8/6; Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 8/6 [subscription required]).

The full plate of the CIO


While IT departments deal with meaningful use, ICD-10, EMRs, and more, CIOs must think broadly to understand the full IT implications of each aspect of health care reform.

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