Daily Briefing Blog

A look back on Mostashari's years as czar of health IT

Juliette Mullin, Editor

The government shutdown has brought many parts of Washington, D.C., to a halt—but it couldn't stop Farzad Mostashari from leaving the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Today is Mostashari's last day at ONC, and in his four years at the agency (two of which were spent leading the office), he was a critical driver of the meaningful use of electronic health records, information exchange, and federal patient engagement initiatives.

And, of course, he "became well known for his trademark bow tie and contagious enthusiasm for all things health IT," my colleague Kate Ackerman writes for iHealthBeat, our sister publication.

A couple weeks ago, Kate spoke with Mostashari about his tenure at ONC, touching on everything from his biggest disappointments to his prolific tweeting.

"These are intense jobs, and it's been an intense four years for me in public service that I wouldn't exchange for anything," Mostashari said in the interview. "But I knew that I wouldn't be effective if I stayed another three years to the end of [President Obama's] term."

"Given that," he added, "I thought leaving while things are relatively stable—the organization was in pretty good shape, we're between rulemaking cycles—[and] getting the next national coordinator here at a time when they can really put their stamp on the next stage would be the wise thing to do."

Here's the full interview.

  • Mostashari at last month's National Population Health Symposium. The outgoing ONC chief urged attendees to "focus on what kills people." Namely, he said to focus on the "ABCs." Find out what he meant.

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