5 things to know about new ONC chief Donald Rucker

Long history of clinical and technology work should benefit the nation’s hub for healthcare IT policy.
By Bernie Monegain
12:01 PM
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ONC chief Donald Rucker

The newly named chief of the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology, Donald W. Rucker, MD, is being lauded as one of the most qualified choices to lead that agency.

He has been emergency room doctor, internal medicine physician, a clinical informatics expert, an inventor, a designer and researcher and innovator and for the past four years, he was professor at Ohio State University, where he taught clinical Emergency Medicine and Biomedical Informatics.

[Also: ONC retires two committees; Fleming will report to ONC chief]

Here are five things you might not know about the new ONC chief:

1. Rucker has designed and built healthcare technology and taken it to market. One example: At Datamedic Corp., he co-developed the world’s first Microsoft Windows-based electronic medical record. He advocates looking at tools used in other industries to automate work flows and apply them to the medical center.

2. At Siemens Healthcare, where he served as chief medical officer for 13 years, Rucker led the team that designed the computerized physician order entry workflow. The team installed it at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The hospital, subsequently nabbed the 2003 HIMSS Nicholas Davies Award for its work on the technology front.

3. Rucker’s work includes research on interface design for clinical applications and integrating expert systems and databases. He has also conducted joint studies on the development of physician workstations and quality assurance tools.

4. He has practiced emergency medicine at Kaiser in California; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he was the first full-time Emergency Department attending; and, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Presbyterian and Pennsylvania Hospitals.

5. His peers call him a clinical informatics expert. He has published extensively on information technology. His accomplishments include research on interface design for clinical applications and integrating expert systems and databases, as well as joint studies on the development of physician workstations and quality assurance tools.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN