Health IT

Hacking the career of health IT guru Farzad Mostashari

Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health IT, has said he will step down this fall. In an email to colleagues announcing his decision,Mostashari, described the challenges he and his department faced when he joined the office in 2009 as principal deputy national coordinator. “Working backwards from the outcomes we hoped to enable, we had […]

Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health IT, has said he will step down this fall. In an email to colleagues announcing his decision,Mostashari, described the challenges he and his department faced when he joined the office in 2009 as principal deputy national coordinator.

“Working backwards from the outcomes we hoped to enable, we had to define ‘Meaningful Use’ of electronic health records, establish a new certification program, endorse national standards, design and set up a slew of new grant programs to assist in health IT adoption, exchange, workforce, research, and privacy. There were 32 staff members.”

He also drew attention to some of the things that were accomplished on his watch:

  • Regional extension centers have assisted 140,000 providers- over 40 percent of all primary care providers in the country and over 80 percent of critical access hospitals — the largest medical technical assistance project in history.
  • Adoption of health records has tripled in doctor’s offices and increased five-fold or more in hospitals.
  • Over half of prescriptions are now electronic.
  • New functionalities essential for population health management are increasingly available and used.
  • National standards and protocols for information exchange and interoperability are being implemented throughout the industry.

“Over the next 12 months we will see a great democratization of health information as individuals become empowered to download their own health information, and venture capital investment in new tools to help us manage our own health and healthcare are skyrocketing. Meanwhile, hospital readmissions are dropping, healthcare cost inflation is at historic lows, and the movement towards payment that rewards quality and value is gaining speed.”

Earlier this year U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said EHR adoption had reached a “tipping point”  with more than 50 percent of eligible providers adopting or using EHR.

The point of getting healthcare facilities to convert from paper to electronic health records has been driven by a desire to reduce medical errors, make it easier for hospitals to share patient information and reduce costs. But interoperability problems, steep learning curves for hospitals and limited resources for many hospitals have been challenging obstacles to surmount.

implementation and integrity of our grant programs. Accelerating consensus around healthcare standards through an innovative new open source community paradigm in the Direct Project and its successor Standards and Interoperability Framework. Coordinating policy with our federal partners.  Adding a new focus on consumer eHealth, and giving consumers access to their own data through the Blue Button. Creating a Health IT safety program.

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