In response to the announcement of multiple leadership changes at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and Dr. Karen DeSalvo's assignment to be Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) have sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, expressing an ongoing commitment to health information technology (IT) as a tool for healthcare transformation and submitted recommendations to address current developments within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
HIMSS and CHIME continue to envision an interoperable, secure, and widespread use of IT can improve patient safety, enhance care quality, increase access to care, contribute to population health, and reduce costs. In order to achieve that, the two organizations call on the Secretary to fill all ONC leadership positions as soon as possible with well-respected leaders who possess a combination of clinical training and practice, clinical & business informatics expertise, a clear vision for IT's role in enabling healthcare transformation, and experience in public policy.
The letter recognizes the important role Dr. Karen DeSalvo has as the National Coordinator, and recommends that given the many important issues facing the health IT community in the coming months that Dr. DeSalvo's leadership is needed at ONC. If her time as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health supports only part-time duties in health IT, new leadership is necessary to lead ONC.