Dr. Mark Roche is a former Northwestern University professor and NIH researcher focused on medical informatics and healthcare interoperability. He also served a physician advisor for ONC and HHS/
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has named Dr. Mark Roche as the agency’s first chief healthcare informatics officer where he will be helping to lead the government’s interoperability strategy.
Roche is a former Northwestern University professor and NIH researcher focused on medical informatics and healthcare interoperability. He also served a physician advisor for ONC and HHS where his portfolio included digitization of data using clinical terminologies and technologies like machine learning and natural language processing.
The need for a point person to lead the agency’s interoperability efforts has gained even more urgency in the wake of the recently released proposed rules from HHS intended to give government health plan members control over their health information by 2020.
As part of the larger initiative to give patients more agency over their care, CMS is also looking at forcing providers and plans to adopt open data sharing technologies that will allow for the free exchange of data and ease the transition of patients from one plan to another.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma initially put out a call for a chief informatics officer last year as the agency ramped up its healthcare data availability efforts through its MyHealthEData initiative.
The job listing specified that officer’s duties would develop requirements and content for health-related information technology, act as a go-between for CMS and industry stakeholders and work with partners to find pathways to apply health informatics to potential business solutions.
“The truth is, as the largest healthcare payer in the country, CMS should have had a CHIO function long ago. Despite today’s amazing technology and decades of promises, we are not where we should be,” Verma wrote in a statement last year after announcing creation of the position.
“The CHIO role will enhance my leadership team, working across CMS, with federal partners including the U.S. Digital Service, and alongside private industry and researchers to lead innovation and help inform CMS’s health IT strategy.”
Date: March 7, 2019