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Donald Rucker Named New National Coordinator for Health IT

Donald Rucker, MD, has been appointed to lead the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

New National Coordinator for Health IT

Source: Thinkstock

By Jennifer Bresnick

- The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has a new leader in Donald Rucker, MD, a Harvard College, University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford graduate who will leave behind a role as Adjunct Professor in The Ohio State University Medical School’s Department of Biomedical Informatics.

With a lengthy resume that includes 13 years as Chief Medical Officer of Siemens Healthcare USA as well as a Master’s in medical computer science and an MBA from Stanford University, Rucker brings a combination of real-world clinical experience and business savvy that may bring some comfort to the health IT community as it continues to struggle through significant financial and technical upheaval. 

He has also worked as a practicing emergency department physician at several of the nation’s top health systems, including Kaiser Permanente, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Rucker replaces Dr. Vindell Washington, who served as National Coordinator for only a few months before relinquishing his post as the Presidential administration turned over.  Since then, Dr. Jon White has been leading the office as Acting National Coordinator.

Former ONC chief Dr. Farzad Mostashari wished Rucker well on Twitter as the news circumspectly reached the public – HHS has not yet issued a press release, but has updated its staff directory to reflect the change.

Dr. Farzad Mostashari congratulates new National Coordinator Dr. Donald Rucker on his appointment
Dr. Farzad Mostashari congratulates new National Coordinator Dr. Donald Rucker on his appointment

Source: Twitter

“Congrats!” Mostashari wrote on the social networking site.  “Do good work, call on the health IT community, we will support you.”

Rucker is also an experienced technology implementer and developer who has more than a decade of hands-on experience with health IT. 

According to his biography on the OSU website, he helped to develop the first Windows-based electronic health record and led the team that designed Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system.  The installation at Cincinnati Children's won the 2003 HIMSS Davies Award for best hospital computer system.

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