Why Is Healthcare IT Under Fire?

Brian Eastwood | CIO | November 10, 2014

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has lost several key figures in recent months. An economic report suggests that meaningful use may have been a waste of money. Why is healthcare IT under such duress?

It's been a rough year for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT – and it's unclear when things will get better.  On Oct. 23, the Department of Health and Human Services tapped ONC head Dr. Karen DeSalvo as acting assistant secretary for health, primarily to lead its Ebola response team. DeSalvo rose to national prominence helping reshape healthcare in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. She's expected to bring valuable (and needed) disaster response know-how to HHS.

However, DeSalvo's departure prompted Deputy National Coordinator Dr. Jacob Reider to resign as well. ONC and HHS later backtracked, saying DeSalvo isn't leaving ONC after all and will serve as HHS acting assistant secretary and "high-level policy" leader at ONC. Lisa Lewis, formerly the ONC's COO, was named acting national coordinator.

Even so, Modern Healthcare notes, ONC has gone through five coordinators since it was established in 2004. Reider's departure also means ONC has lost five key officials in the last six months. That's not good for business. Neither is a rather damning report suggesting that the meaningful use incentive program – ONC's raison d'etre – may prove to be a waste of money...