Karen DeSalvo stepping down as national coordinator to join HHS full-time

Vindell Washington to replace DeSalvo at the helm of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. 

Karen DeSalvo, MD revealed on August 11 that she is resigning as head of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

ONC announced that principal deputy director Vindell Washington will replace DeSalvo as the national coordinator.

DeSalvo is leaving ONC to concentrate on her other position, Acting Assistant Secretary of Health. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell recruited her into  this role in October 2014 to help with the Ebola outbreak. At the time it was unclear whether the ASH role at HHS meant DeSalvo was leaving ONC or not, but she continued to serve as national coordinator, driving the meaningful use EHR incentive program and spearheading the agency’s interoperability efforts.



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“Under her leadership, ONC has advanced interoperability across the health system – which underpins progress on a wide range of Department and Administration priorities,” Burwell wrote to in an email to ONC staff. “During her tenure, ONC has worked with other federal partners and the private sector to update the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and develop a Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, both of which chart a person-centered path for improving health outcomes by unlocking health data through tools like open application programming interfaces (APIs).”

Burwell continued that Washington, while Principal Deputy National Coordinator, has worked on initiatives including Delivery System Reform, the opioid crisis and President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

“In his capacity as National Coordinator, Vindell will continue to lead the Administration’s efforts to leverage health information technology to reform how we pay for and deliver care; transform health research and innovation to empower clinicians, individuals and communities to manage their health; and oversee implementation of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap to unlock digital health data and ensure it is widely accessible, usable, and transferable throughout the public and private sectors,” Burwell wrote.

DeSalvo will hand over the office to Washington on Friday, August 12, 2016. 

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com

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