Ever since Dr. Farzad Mostashari announced his decision to step down as National Coordinator of Health IT earlier this year, government officials and medical professionals alike have been puzzling over the fate of chiropractic EHR and federal incentive programs such as meaningful use. Mostashari was an outspoken advocate for the advancement of EHR, even in the face of widespread skepticism, and many came to see him as the face of the digital revolution.
Now, after months of suspense, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has announced Mostashari's successor. As of January 13, the ONC will be helmed by Dr. Karen DeSalvo. According to reports, DeSalvo now serves as Health Commissioner and Senior Health Policy Advisor to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in Louisiana.
In a public note to staff members at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius extolled DeSalvo's professional merits. Sebelius particularly noted DeSalvo's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm devastated New Orleans and the surrounding area, and though it was widely seen to have been mishandled by the federal government, DeSalvo and her team worked tirelessly to extend the scope of medical care to members of the population who needed it most.
"During her tenure, Dr. DeSalvo has been at the forefront of efforts to modernize the New Orleans health care system. Following Hurricane Katrina, for example, she led projects to increase access to care by augmenting the city's neighborhood-based medical homes for low income, uninsured and other vulnerable populations in the New Orleans area," Sebelius wrote.
While Dr. Mostashari's shoes will certainly be difficult to fill, Dr. DeSalvo's demonstrated commitment to the increased adoption of chiropractic EMR and other forms of healthcare IT should be enough to allay concerns about potential stalls in the transition to digital records.
Whatever DeSalvo's leadership means for chiropractors, make sure you are prepared for what's to come with the best chiropractic EHR software.