Q&A: Karen DeSalvo on Meaningful Use, ONC Reorg

Scott Mace, June 10, 2014

[These are] things that can enable and support payment and other reform, but at the same time, this is also an opportunity for technology to in and of itself transform care, so an obvious example is telehealth, which is a different way to deliver care, or e-consults.

And technology can do that, but it has to work in tandem with the payment system. It has to be wanted and understood by the private sector, whether that's payers or employers or providers. So there is enough work and focus that we wanted to make sure that there was a small team of people who were thinking about that every day, even though we already had been, but just to define it.

We also have innovation responsibilities, not to necessarily lead always, but to be thinking and innovating with others in the private sector.

But we have in our standards portfolio a lot of work to implement that we want to make sure leads to a defined roadmap to implement around interoperability, so the data's not just in one system, but following patients where they need it, available for providers when they need it, and then able to roll up into other uses.

HLM: I read a report that the ONC office of consumer health is going away. Is that true?

DeSalvo: It's absolutely not going away. It still exists where it has been. It's been in policy and programs. Policy and programs split apart, so it's still with programs. It's an incredibly important part of our portfolio. No change to the resources. No change to the interest. No change to the focus.

As I wrote in my note to the team, we get up every day, well I'll speak for myself, I get up every day to work for the people of this country. That is the reason that I am in this job. It is who I serve. It is how we want to build health IT, to serve their needs as individuals for health, to help them take care of their families, and to see that we're doing a better job at public health and population health. So it is absolutely not lost, and it's a critically central part of what we do every day.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.

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