Reaction to the appointment of New Orleans Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo as the next National Coordinator for Health IT continues to be positive, with several individuals and organizations concurring that her body of work will serve her well in a transition to the federal stage.
Russell Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, said in a statement that her accomplishments, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, equip her with an "admirable skill set" necessary to navigate the challenging times ahead for the healthcare IT industry.
"One thing was that we wanted someone who comes from the field and knows the pains of doing this, knows the challenges of deploying healthcare IT in a real world," Branzell also told Healthcare Informatics. "I think she's a logical fit with that experience. She brings real-world practice experience that is needed to this role."
Carla Smith, executive vice president for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, called DeSalvo's selection by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "excellent," making note of her experience as president of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum and as the Louisiana lead for the state's health information exchange and regional extension center grants.
"HIMSS looks forward to collaborating with Dr. DeSalvo and the entire ONC team, as we work to underscore the value of health IT as a foundational resource in achieving healthcare transformation," Smith said in a statement.
Former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, via Twitter, said he couldn't be happier with the choice, calling DeSalvo "a public health star" and "a true leader."
"She understands healthcare from the front lines," he wrote.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, commenting on DeSalvo's departure from his administration, said that DeSalvo was particularly integral in overhauling New Orleans' health department. "We know that her success in making lasting, positive changes in healthcare will continue" at HHS, he said in a statement.
DeSalvo, in turn, called working for the Landrieu administration "a tremendous honor" and "a life-changing experience."
"Mayor Landrieu has been a true champion for health and I am grateful for his support and leadership throughout my appointment," DeSalvo said in a statement.
To learn more:
- read the CHIME statement
- check out Branzell's comments to Healthcare Informatics
- here's the HIMSS statement
- read Mostashari's tweet
- here are the statements from Landrieu and DeSalvo