New ONC Coordinator Will Be Effective Leader

Farzad Mostashari, M.D., was recently announced as the new head of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology, a division of HHS that works nationwide to encourage and implement the proper use of HIT and electronic exchanges of health information.  


Dr. Mostashari will be an effective leader of ONC, based on his track record of success as deputy director and other unique expertise he brings to this new role. His background in execution and implementation is especially relevant as ONC responsibilities move from strategy development to execution. His field experience as a scientist coupled with his experience in implementing large projects will be useful in providing effective leadership at ONC. What’s more, he understands the magnitude of the work at hand.


In particular, I believe Dr. Mostashari’s leadership will be significant when dealing with privacy and the security of protected health information (PHI).  In addressing the HIT Standards Committee on March 29, 2011, his remarks stood out in regard to the importance of securing PHI. Specifically, as reported by, he stressed that ONC must emphasize “putting patients and their interests in the center of everything we do – their interests including privacy and security.”


The appointment of Dr. Mostashari likely signals there will be added emphasis on security and privacy safeguards in the coming stages of Meaningful Use Certification (Stage 2 and beyond). Read the assessment of ONC’s new leader by Howard Anderson and others.


If you have concerns about your organization’s level of security, visit 



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