Karen M. Bell, M.D., is New Chair of CCHIT

CHICAGO - April 12, 2010 - The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®) announced today the appointment of Karen M. Bell, M.D., as chair of CCHIT, effective April 26.   Bell, most recently senior vice president, Health Information Technology Services, Masspro, replaces retiring chair Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., who led the Commission since its inception in 2004. 

"I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the Certification Commission as we enter a new phase of health information technology certification - one with expanded opportunities and challenges," said Bell. "The Commission has a trusted name and processes and is already well respected for its nimbleness, creativity, transparency and inclusiveness. I look forward to working with the Commission's staff and volunteers to build on that foundation to meet the needs of healthcare providers and consumers in this rapidly evolving health IT environment."

Prior to her tenure at Masspro, the federally-contracted Quality Improvement Organization within Massachusetts, Bell was director, Office of Health Information Technology Adoption and acting deputy, Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was ONC's representative on CCHIT's board of commissioners from 2006 to 2008. She also has served as division director for the quality improvement group, office of standards and quality for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and medical director, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, among other positions.  A graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Bell has experience as an internal medicine practitioner and as an associate professor, University of Rochester and clinical instructor, Harvard University School of Medicine. 

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Bell, who brings a wealth of experience in and enthusiasm for electronic health records and the important role they play in helping to assure the high quality of the nation's health care," said Frank Trembulak, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Geisinger Health System, and chair of the CCHIT board of trustees.   "Her background as a practicing physician, as an expert in health information technology, and in quality assurance efforts in both the public and private sectors makes her uniquely qualified to head the Certification Commission," he said.  Bell's appointment comes after a five-month search aided by the firm Egon Zehnder International, Chicago. 

"I'd also like to express the Commission's gratitude to Mark Leavitt for the outstanding work he's done in his six years as chair, and thank him for his enthusiastic support of Dr. Bell's appointment and for agreeing to stay on to facilitate the transition," Trembulak said.

About CCHIT

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®) is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the public mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology.  The Commission has been certifying electronic health record technology since 2006.  More information on CCHIT, CCHIT Certified® products and certified Preliminary ARRA electronic health record technology is available at http://cchit.org and http://ehrdecisions.com

"CCHIT®" and "CCHIT Certified®" are registered trademarks of the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology.

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Editors Note: Dr. Bell is available for telephone interviews 3 to 7 p.m. Eastern today. Please contact Ashley Mattys at 312-558-1770 or [email protected] to schedule a time to speak with Dr. Bell.

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