U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, who spearheaded several federal health IT initiatives, reportedly will step down from his position by the end of the year.
The White House has yet to confirm Park's departure.
Background on Park
After founding health IT companies Athenahealth and Castlight Health, Park in 2009 joined the Obama administration as CTO of HHS and was involved in several health IT initiatives, such as:
- The initial 2010 rollout of HealthCare.gov;
- Launching the Health Data Initiative;
- Releasing HHS data for public and private health care stakeholders to use to improve care; and
- Working to implement open source and application programming interface efforts.
Park assumed the role of federal CTO in 2012, becoming the second person to ever hold the position. Over the past two years, Park spearheaded several health IT projects, including:
- Helping efforts to fix the federal health insurance exchange after its problem-plagued launch; and
- Overseeing the launch of openFDA, a new platform designed to ease the process for researchers, health IT developers and consumers to access the agency's trove of public health data.
Park also is well known for fostering the use of health IT technologies by promoting start-ups and health IT applications.
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Next steps for Park
According to FCW, Park made the decision to step down as White House CTO to move his family back to California. Park is expected to take on a new White House role to recruit top IT talent to work for the federal government.
However, the White House has yet to confirm Park's new role. A replacement has yet to be named.
Industry stakeholders respond
Health IT Now's Executive Director Joel White said, "Todd was bringing his private-sector experience to bear on a host of issues." He added that Park's "type of skill set" is "going to be hard to replace."
Meanwhile, DNAnexus Chief Medical Officer David Shaywitz praised Park's reported new job, saying, "It's increasingly clear to leaders in many industries, including government, that there's tremendous value in the way Silicon Valley conceptualizes and solves problems." He added, "Fully realizing the potential will require the folks who have grown up in this ecosystem and inhabit its mindset. These are the people Park is presumably intending to recruit—and it sounds like a great idea" (Tahir, Modern Healthcare, 8/22; Hochmuth, FCW, 8/22; Sullivan, Healthcare IT News, 8/25; Carr, Information Week, 8/22).
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