Mostashari: A look back at the headlines
August 7, 2013 in Medical Technology
After an eventful two-year stint as deputy national coordinator, Farzad Mostashari, MD, took the helm at ONC just as the meaningful use program began to gather steam. His tenure will be remembered as one of unprecedented change for the industry. Here’s a look back at some his star turns in Healthcare IT News over the years.
Having announced just two weeks prior that he was stepping down as national coordinator, David Blumenthal, MD, was in was not in attendance at the popular annual ONC town hall meeting at the HIMSS11 conference in Orlando.
Instead, Mostashari, second-in-command at ONC since 2009, led the meeting – declaring that, “With David’s departure, this is a time to analyze if we’re on the right track.”
It wasn’t much of a surprise a couple months later when Senior Editor Diana Manos reported that Mostashari would succeed his boss as head of ONC.
His bona fides were indisputable. At the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, he served as assistant commissioner for the Primary Care Information Project, where he facilitated the adoption of prevention-oriented health information technology by more than 1,500 providers in underserved communities.
Prior to that, Mostashari graduated training at the Harvard School of Public Health and Yale Medical School, and did an internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was also one of the lead investigators in the outbreaks of West Nile Virus and anthrax in New York City, and among the first developers of real-time electronic disease surveillance systems nationwide.
In his first Health IT Policy Committee as head of ONC, Mostashari admitted that Blumenthal was a “tough act to follow.” Nonetheless, he said he would emulate his former boss’s “very attentive, inclusive process of listening.” While sympathetic to various health IT stakeholders and their sometimes conflicting interests, Mostashari said he would keep the public in mind first: “I think listening yields the best product for the public interest.”
Toward, that end, he urged better communication between providers, frontline staff and consumers. “We will work harder to be good communicators of our vision and what it will mean for you,” he said.
He added, “We have to continue to watch out for the little guy. The market doesn’t look out for the little guy – that will have to be the role of government.”