The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has named Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM to replace David Blumenthal, MD as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Dr. Mostashari had been serving as Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy within the ONC since July 2009, while Dr. Blumenthal has been national coordinator since March of 2009.
It is no surprise that Dr. Blumenthal as gone back to academia, since he would have lost his tenure at Harvard had he stayed on at the ONC. Blumenthal has done an outstanding job at launching the many health IT initiatives at the ONC over the past two years, and moving us into the "Era of Meaningful Use." But I actually think that this is a great time for transition to Dr. Mostashari as we move from planning these programs to implementation. And I think it is important that this is not a temporary or interim appointment, but we have a permanent replacement. This is no time for doubt or uncertainty, and Farzad will provide the continuity that is so badly needed.
Some have said that the next national coordinator should have more real world experience in implementing an EHR, and Dr. Mostashari will fit this criteria nicely. I have thought for some time (really since my interview with Farzad back in November 2010) that he would be the best choice for this new role. Moving from planning with a strong leader who casts a vision, to implementation with equally strong leadership who has real world implementation experience and great communication skills. As I told Neil Versel for InformationWeek Magazine, "I think you've got the right leader in the right place at the right time."