Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vish moves on...

The following letter is the announcement by Vish Sankaran, program director for HHS's Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Federal Health Architecture initiative, that he is leaving the agency. He has been an inspirational and transformational figure in health IT and I wish him well in this next chapter in his life.
Within the next several weeks I will be departing from the Federal Health Architecture program to seek other opportunities.
This was not an easy decision, but it comes at an ideal time for FHA and for me, when FHA is reshaping to fit in with the overarching federal health IT body being formed.
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.
My departure has allowed me to look back and review FHA’s legacy – a legacy built through all of our hard work. I joined the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT shortly after our nation’s leadership issued Presidential Executive Order 13335, which set up the ONC and called for a commitment to build a nationwide electronic health information system.
When agencies were called upon to work together to enable interoperability and improve services to their beneficiaries, the agencies responded! Twenty federal agencies came together to discuss more than challenges – they joined workgroups dedicated to determining common needs, worked together to develop tools and solutions, and most importantly, they shared their experiences in advancing health IT within their own agencies and with their counterparts. We all learned and benefited from this collaboration.
Our achievements have been significant, creating a template for how the public and private sectors could work together to set a new bar for health information exchange and to create an “ecosystem” of buyers and sellers in the marketplace. A great illustration of our collaboration is the CONNECT solution, which has been adopted by both government agencies and the private sector. This open-source platform has evolved into a venue for innovation which continues to this day.
Our efforts have not gone unnoticed. FHA has been on the agenda of more than 150 conferences and meetings dedicated to health IT. Media coverage of the program can be found in a wide range of publications and online media sites. Most gratifying is that our program has received seven awards from organizations recognizing innovation in health IT.
Without your strong and steadfast support, we would not have made the mark that we did. My time here was my first exposure to the inner-workings of the federal government – and more than anything else, I learned that our government is staffed with dedicated and hard working individuals. I wish all Americans would have had the opportunity to share my experience. I now understand that public service is more than a career – it is a calling.
I look forward to continuing to be involved in the national effort to make health and human services a transformative force for our society. I know that I will have the opportunity to see many of you again. Until I do, I trust you know that you have my thanks and appreciation for all you have done during my tenure as FHA Program Director. Let us keep advancing the “openness” in our government activities and work across the public and private sector to reduce cost and improve health and human services to our citizens.
Friends, the “Patient is Waiting”!
Take care,
Vish Sankaran
Program Director
Federal Health Architecture
Office of the National Coordinator for HIT