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ONC seeks efficiency with realignment

June 3, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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With funding from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) winding down, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is realigning to be more efficient.

The ONC’s realignment was announced in an email from Karen DeSalvo, MD, national coordinator for Health IT to the department’s staff. DeSalvo said that with funding in health IT infrastructure and program investments ending, the ONC had to be a more “efficient and effective” agency. Details also appear in a statement published in the June 3 Federal Register.

Reports from Politico indicate that the realignment seems to be centered on changing up the ONC’s various committees and workgroups. Although details in the email were vague, DeSalvo did say how the agency’s leadership team would be broken down:

  • Office of Care Transformation: Kelly Cronin
  • Office of the Chief Privacy Officer: Joy Pritts
  • Office of the Chief Operating Officer:Lis a Lewis
  • Office of the Chief Scientist: Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD
  • Office of Clinical Quality and Safety: Judy Murphy, RN
  • Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Analysis: Seth Pazinski
  • Office of Policy: Jodi Daniel
  • Office of Programs: Kim Lynch
  • Office of Public Affairs and Communications: Nora Super
  • Office of Standards and Technology: Steve Posnack

Many of these people are in similar positions currently, albeit under different names. Two notable people missing from this list are Lygeia Ricciardi, director of the Office of Consumer eHealth, and Amy Helwig, MD, acting chief medical officer. DeSalvo did note in the email that one of the agency’s goals going forward is to establish a framework to support appropriate use of health data to further meaningful consumer engagement.

Also mentioned is creating a system-level quality and safety of care, improvements in the public’s health and advancements in science. With the agency heading into its second decade of existence, DeSalvo says the changes will allow it to “better align the agency to meet the needs of the future.”