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DeSalvo exits ONC

Karen DeSalvo

Since October 2014, Karen DeSalvo has been serving as national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for health. Her role was changed as part of the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Almost two years later, DeSalvo is having her workload eased. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that Vindell Washington is taking over as head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

In an Aug. 11 email message to staff, Burwell said Washington is being elevated from his position as ONC's principal deputy national coordinator. He has worked on several key initiatives, such as Delivery System Reform, the Precision Medicine Initiative and the government's response to the opioid drug crisis.

Before joining ONC as deputy director, Washington served as president and chief medical information officer of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Louisiana.

In her role as national coordinator, DeSalvo has pushed for more effective data sharing at the agency and appealed for more efficiencies. In remarks at ONC's annual meeting in June, DeSalvo said she believed a shift to improved sharing of patient data and increased medical record interoperability depended on an appeal to the business benefits and the implementation of common standards.

"Karen has served tirelessly as the national coordinator since joining the department in January 2014," Burwell wrote in the email message, adding that ONC has pushed interoperability across the health care system, significantly advanced the Health IT Certification Program, expanded the secure flow of electronic health information and opened up health data application programming interfaces.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Aug 11, 2016 at 1:23 PM


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