Mostashari Shares Concerns After Leaving ONC

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In one of his first public speaking opportunities since leaving his position as head of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari, MD, expressed some concerns he could not have shared before leaving the ONC.

Presenting at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) fall forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., Mostashari discussed his concerns about the lack of interoperability between health IT systems, the slowness of cultural change to reflect the possibilities of data-driven population health management, the lack of a market incentive to make electronic health record developers improve these systems usability, and the problem of a lack of collaboration and sharing between different health systems who are all working separately toward the same goal.

According to a Modern Healthcare report, Mostashari told the chief information officers gathered for the event that “[They need to] find ways to sustain information sharing. It just doesn't feel we're having enough of that happening to get us through this next period.”

He stated that he remained “hopeful and optimistic” but could now share concerns more openly than he could when he was the national coordinator.

Mostashari officially left the ONC on October 5, 2013. In the months leading up to his departure, the ONC had been hit hard by budget cuts under sequestration and had faced criticism from Republican lawmakers, particularly over EHR interoperability and how much the government had gained from the money handed out in meaningful use incentives so far.

Mostashari is joining the Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, a Washtington, DC-based think tank.