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CCHIT Chair Mark Leavitt Announces Retirement

November 13, 2009 News 17 Comments


The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology announced today that its chair, Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD, will retire from the organization in March. A search firm has been engaged to recruit his replacement.

Steve Lieber, HIMSS president and CEO and chair of the CCHIT Board of Trustees, said the board “accepts Mark’s decision with reluctance” and says the search for his successor will be “open and transparent.”

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Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. CCHIT is hardly going to fall away or sink into oblivion and Mark has been quick to respond to the new direction following the passage of ARRA.. It befuddles me how much animosity there is towards what is largely a volunter driven organization that the prior administration set up under their flawed outsourcing model.

    People who are new to the industry don’t seem to grasp why we had to set up something like CCHIT in the first place. The private sector failed and failed in grand fashion to ensure interoperability. The largest emr vendor (private btw) made it nearly impossible for their own clients in the same city with the same version to exchange data without doing back flips.

    BTW – People who resort to personal attacks against someone who has been advocating for years for the very same private sector solutions you support shows a real lack of class.

  2. That is the same time Linda Kloss will be stepping down as CEO from AHIMA. Right before HIMSS’ annual conference? NAHIT no longer exists, AHIMA has distanced itself from HIMSS, and now Mark Leavitt is resigning as CCHIT Chair. The only person left holding the bag is Harry Stephen Lieber, HIMSS CEO, and the Wizard of Oz, who managed to pull the strings of his puppets from behind the curtain for so many years.

    I hope the entire HIT community realizes the impact of Mark Leavitt’s decision to step down, and boycotts the upcoming HIMSS annual conference.

    Do not reward HIMSS for its deception by spending your hard earned money at the HIMSS annual circus.

  3. I don’t know Dr Leavitt and I didn’t author the previous comment about him. But I did not read that comment from Al as a personal attack so much as a view toward Dr .Leavitt’s actions. I agree that CCHIT has been a fiasco — just an extension of HIMSS’ marketing and market control efforts disguised as public service. Deceptive from its origins even if some of its goals were reasonable. Aslo note: I do NOT suggest that the many noble and hard-working folks on CCHIT committees were corrupt. No, they worked without pay to seek valuable goals. The problem was that the CCHIT organizational structure was mis-focused from the get-go. Dr. Leavitt must take some responsibility for the misuse of taxpayer money in support of vendor hegemony in preference to useful HIT.

  4. HIMSS announcement regarding Mark Leavitt stepping down was announced on Friday the 13th!

    According to Wikipedia: Friday the 13th occurs when the thirteenth day of a month falls on Friday, which superstition holds to be a day of good or BAD LUCK.

  5. >>> People who are new to the industry don’t seem to grasp why we had to set up something like CCHIT in the first place. The private sector failed and failed in grand fashion to ensure interoperability.

    Oh really? I have yet to see CCHIT certified EHRs demonstrating any significant “interoperability.”

    >>> It befuddles me how much animosity there is towards what is largely a volunter driven organization that the prior administration set up under their flawed outsourcing model.

    Volunteers? Last I checked, half of these folks represented the technology sector and were paid by their companies to take part in CCHIT.

    I’ve seen Mother Teresa. I understand why she helped the poor. These folks are no Mother Teresas…

    If you work for a corrupt organization, you are either misguided or you are corrupt yourself.

    >>> BTW – People who resort to personal attacks against someone who has been advocating for years for the very same private sector solutions you support shows a real lack of class.

    Ouch, that hurts! (NOT)

    Anyhow, I’ve never advocated the things that CCHIT truly advocates- 1) costly EHRs, 2) lack of competition in the HIT market, 3) forced EHR use by physicians, 4) pick the pockets of physicians to pad the pockets of vendors.

    Thanks babbage- like you said, I’ve never attacked Leavitt “the man,” I’ve only attacked what he does and the organization that he stands for.

    “Lack of Class” AL

  6. Funny,

    people resigning, organizations distancing themselves from former allies, not going to HIMMS etc….at the exact same time a Senate investigation has been opened of the industry.

    Just sayin’…

  7. I recently resigned from the Advanced Interoperability Working Group as well as the (unofficial) FOSS EHR Advisory Committee (both volunteer positions) not because of any corruption that I could see. But simply because the meddling of the Federal Government’s stupid “Meaningful Use” in the interoperability area. It is clear to me that people who have no knowledge of health informatics are being asked to testify and then Senators and Representatives are voting on those “recommendations”.

  8. I am interested in engaging MD Borges with an interview to provide insight and perspective on HIMSS Patient Safety initiatives as it relates to certification and patient safety.

  9. Naysayers and spoil sports. CCHIT created structure where before there was chaos. Every IT vendor in the world said they had an EMR, but many didn’t even have discrete data dictionaries. All CCHIT did in the beginning was to define what is–and what isn’t—an EMR. Sure it was controversial, but give me a break. What other industry than IT delivers products that are filled with bugs and everybody expects it? CCHIT moved the industry a giant step forward. The people who complained the most were vendors because they had to come up with big bucks to get certified. But guess what, it also meant they had to ante up and actually improve their products. This industry doesn’t have a chance of succeeding unless there is standardization, and CCHIT was the one group that was able to move that initiative forward. As far as the allegations of vendor influence, I have participated on 2 HIMSS committees and there was no vendor influence on either one, in fact it was the opposite. Grow up –we are all adults and if a big bad vendor is threatening at the door, most of us can handle it.,

  10. FYI, on our CCHIT work group, we have 11 members. Only 4 have vendor relationships. Another third are clinicians, as am I. I pay out of pocket for my expenses, as do a number of the other members (I’ve not taken a poll so don’t know exact number). Most of us volunteer our time because we believe in the mission to move HIT forward in service of improving patient care. We are neither corrupt or misguided. Just trying to make things better. (Might give that a try.)

  11. The private sector failed?

    So, with a payment system that disincentivizes sharing of data and the consequent low priority of their customers for standards compliance, the fact that vendor systems do not implement standards is surprising in what way?

    The private sector did exactly what was demanded of it, and nothing more. Realignment of incentives requires ditching the fee-for-service system cemented in place by….drumroll please…the PUBLIC sector. Namely Medicare and Medicaid.

    It wasn’t until 2005 or so that Medicare stopped paying for certain types of medical mistakes, such as operating on the wrong side and leaving sponges in the patient.

  12. I agree completely about the sorry state of HIT software quality but missed the connection between CCHIT and sofware bugs.

    Does anyone actruallly believe CCHIT is performing QA?

  13. I’m sorry to hear this. When Mark was CEO of MedicaLogic its EMR product Logician was excellent, and I pushed hard for it in Delaware where I was CMIO back in the late 90’s. Mark and his staff knew what they were doing (now that a Big Company has taken over the product, some of my former colleagues tell me it’s become hard to use).

    Business issues aside, I think CCHIT (and/or its successor) needs leadership that first and foremost knows how to build an effective EMR. Instead, my concern is that a prototypical business suit who doesn’t know their clinical IT a** from their elbow will take over.

  14. We think it is more than a coincidence that Mr. Leavitt is resigning during a period when his leadership is needed the most, and there is $20 billion on the table. It is also not a coincidence that the acronym EMR and the concept of the electronic medical record have been around far longer than CCHIT, and will probably endure long after CCHIT and HIMSS have come and gone.

    We also believe that the FDA should have recognized and regulated electronic medical records as medical devices from the very first contact with the patient. We can only speculate as to an actual number of patients harmed by faulty products. The real numbers are behind the veil of “learned intermediaries” and covenants of silence required by the end-user license agreements.

    We also believe it is no coincidence that CCHIT continued to certify products that included this language. And we believe Dr. Brailer had a responsibility while he was at the Office of the National Coordinator to excavate this language and draw the necessary legal challenges required for regulation by the Federal government.

    We believe Mr. Leavitt and Dr. Brailer have a lot of questions to answer concerning the negligence and willful continuance of this language that is counter current to the discipline required for improving patient safety and patient outcomes.

    The data dictionary is important. However, the bigger question is creating a culture of reporting that is supportive and nonpunitive, the current “state of the art” for EHRs/EMRs containing exculpatory language requires regulation. It is a hoax to say these products are safe when the user is bound by such covenants. Putting a CCHIT certification on them does not make them safe.

    We believe Senator Grassley has asked appropriate questions regarding this language and it would not be over reaching to ask Mr. Leavitt and Dr. Brailer, why they embraced and certified products that contain this language.

  15. Currently attending AMIA and went to a panel on CCHIT including Leavitt, VP of GE Info Systems, and several others. It appears that no one wants to take responsibility for adopting and kind of terminology that would make observation information interoperable from the point of data collection. This is nothing but a rehash of Leavitt’s statement 3 years ago that vendors were unwilling to do this, and CCHIT is primarily by the “approved” that there was no motivation to make it happen (sounds like the Moody’s rating bonds, paid for by the bond-floaters.)

    This was followed by a rambling talk by David Blumenthal, ONC, in which he stated that the ONC was encouraging “Meaningful Use” but would not get involved in the details of how any of this actually might happen.

    This was much the same attitude from Brailer, essentially a political appointee with little experience in EMRs, but a lot of experience of pulling info out of claims-made data – an entirely different exercise.

    The only conclusion one can draw is that EMR “industry lobbying”, once again has stalled any meaningful progress by end-users dependent on their vendors who have no business reason to make their EMR’s interoperable (the only good customer is a captive customer), and the clock is ticking to 2011.

    it is quite apparent that CCHIT does follow the Golden Rule of Business – “He has the Gold makes the Rules.”

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