Jacob Reider to Vindell Washington: Prioritize certification, quality improvement

Vindell Washington

As Vindell Washington (pictured right) steps into his new role as the National Coordinator for Health IT, Jacob Reider, M.D., is giving his own thoughts on the position after spending time himself as the acting national coordinator from October 2013 to early 2014.

Late last week, Karen DeSalvo stepped down from her role as head of ONC; she still serves as acting assistant secretary for health at the Health and Human Services Department.

Washington, who served as DeSalvo's principal deputy national coordinator, is now taking up the reins.

Here’s some of what Reider, writing at The Healthcare Blog, says he would like to see from the new National Coordinator:

  • Revisions to the health IT certification program, which he calls “the core of ONC’s responsibility to the nation,” must continue
  • A focus on quality improvement, not quality measures. “A ‘quality measure’ that assumes the presence of information in an IT system that is not present will be an invalid quality measure. Period,” he writes.
  • Continued efforts to help patients. Reider says one of the most important things he learned from DeSalvo was that there must be a shift from improving “healthcare” to improving health.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka and Jeff Smith, vice president of public policy at the American Medical Informatics Association, both say they foresee a relatively smooth transition for Washington.

To learn more:
- here's Reider's post