Sankaran to leave HHS' Federal Health Architecture

Led efforts on Connect gateway and health data interoperability

Vish Sankaran, program director for the Federal Health Architecture system, announced his resignation today to pursue other opportunities.

“Within the next several weeks, I will be departing from the Federal Health Architecture program to seek other opportunities,” Sankaran wrote in an e-mail message to staff members and associates.

Sankaran, who joined the Health and Human Services Department in 2005, became director of Federal Health Architecture in March 2007. He works in HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Sankaran has led interagency efforts to set up an IT architecture and standards to enable health data exchange between federal agencies. He helped develop the HHS Nationwide Health Information Network, a set of standards, legal agreements and specifications enabling secure exchange of health data over the Internet as well as searches of patient data.

The Social Security Administration is using the NHIN in a project to help with collecting medical data on people who are applying for disability benefits.

Sankaran’s office also developed the Connect open-source software, which allows entities to link to the NHIN. Several versions of Connect have been released, and more are in development.

He said leaving the architecture office “was not an easy decision,” but it comes at an ideal time because the FHA is “reshaping” to deal with health care reforms.

“This is also a great time to bring in new leadership to further the great work you’ve already accomplished. And on the personal front, I am exploring exciting new opportunities that will allow me to continue my passion,” Sankaran wrote.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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