Hospital CIOs on Sebelius resignation: We must stay the course with federal IT efforts

Hospital CIOs serving on FierceHealthIT's Editorial Advisory Board said they will continue to stay the course with their health IT efforts in spite of the sudden resignation of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

"I always stay focused on the road ahead, not the bumps along the way," Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka (pictured right) told FierceHealthIT.  "For me, every day is Meaningful Use, ICD-10 [yes, we'll finish it], ACA and the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, with innovation along the way as time permits."

Todd Richardson, senior vice president and CIO at Wausau, Wisc.-based Aspirus, Inc., echoed Halamka's sentiments, saying that for his team, his organization and his patients, deviation from the current path is not an option.

"We are trying to accomplish landmark changes within healthcare and the stability at the top seems to be at risk," Richardson (pictured left) told FierceHealthIT. "We will continue to weather the storm."

Indranil Ganguly, vice president and CIO at JFK Health System in Edison, N.J.--alluding to President Barack Obama's nomination of current Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Sebelius--said that it's important for the industry to keep those in D.C. up to date regarding the importance, value and complexity of health IT.

"This doesn't change our mission as CIOs, other than to remind us that change is constant, even in Washington," Ganguly (pictured right) told FierceHealthIT.

FierceHealthIT Editorial Advisory Board member David Harlow, a Boston-based attorney who serves as principal of The Harlow Group, LLC, called Sebelius an innovator both at HHS and in Kansas.

"Sebelius ended up having to fall on her sword due to the fiasco," Harlow (pictured left) told FierceHealthIT. "Here's hoping that her successor will feel some of the freedom inherent in serving mostly during the second half of her boss's second term--freedom to do the right thing [at least after the midterm elections have passed], rather than the safe thing."