The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT certainly appears to be an agency in disarray. After all, not only will ONC be without its top two officials by the end of next month--with National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo named acting assistant secretary for health at HHS last week and Deputy National Coordinator Jacob Reider announcing he will head back to New York in November--the agency also has lost four other top officials. Since July, it has seen Joy Pritts, Lygeia Ricciardi, Judy Murphy and Doug Fridsma depart.
For a company whose founders claim they have no interest in healthcare, Google certainly has a lot of irons in that particular fire.
Government leaders, healthcare providers and patient advocates alike have made it clear that engaging patients in their own care will continue to a top priority in the health industry going forward, particularly as payment models shift to reward improved outcomes over volume. Not everyone in the health industry, however, believes that more engagement equals better results.
It's telling that the recent announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalizing Oct. 1, 2015, as the new ICD-10 deadline was met mostly with skepticism, at least by hospital CIOs and provider organizations with whom I spoke last week. Still, there appears to be one big difference between this delay and the last one: Right up front, CMS announced plans for readiness testing for providers, including end-to-end testing.
Midway through her first year as national coordinator for health IT, Karen DeSalvo, no doubt, has put her stamp on ONC.
With stricter HIPAA audits on the horizon, the threat of the Federal Trade Commission also cracking down on breaches and the notorious Heartbleed bug looming, you would think the healthcare industry--and provider organizations, in particular--would take any measures necessary to ensure, or at least improve, privacy and security. That, however, does not appear to be the case, if news reported within the past few months is any indication.