ONC Chief Scientist Doug Fridsma Resigns

Tom Sullivan | Government Health IT | September 22, 2014

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on Monday announced that Doug Fridsma, MD is stepping down from his post as chief scientist.  Fridsma’s departure comes on the heels of other high-profile resignations, notably the so-called consumerista Lygeia Ricciardi and chief privacy officer Joy Pritts. As is often the case with employees leaving ONC — think former national coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD and director of ONC’s Office of Provider Adoption Support Mat Kendal before them — Ricciardi and Pitts did not immediately reveal their next steps.

ONC, on the other hand, said on Monday that Fridsma will be joining the American Medical Informatics Association as CEO.  "Dr. Fridsma has rich experiences in both academic and government settings where he has focused his energy toward advancing state-of-the-art health informatics technologies,” Blackford Middleton, MD, chair of AMIA’s board of directors said in a prepared statement. “As a longtime AMIA member and national leader, he has a keen understanding of the science of informatics as well as the application of informatics to transform care. He brings a well-informed perspective from the practitioner, policymaker, and investigator points-of-view to help define not only what informaticians know, but also what informaticians do to transform care."

As chief scientist at ONC, Fridsma was “responsible for all programs that are focused on providing a foundation for interoperable health information exchange,” according to his bio on HealthIT.gov, including the Standards and Interoperability framework.  "Doug's signature accomplishment, undoubtedly, is the creation of the Standards & Interoperability Framework," national coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD wrote in an email to ONC staffers. "Through that program, ONC has engaged the health IT community in an open and transparent process, solving critical challenges that help improve the sharing and use of electronic health information across the health care system."...