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Murphy brings ‘scientific experience,' energy to ONC


By Joseph Conn
Posted: October 25, 2011 - 11:00 am ET
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In a huge validation for nursing informatics, and a historic career shift for her as well, Judy Murphy, vice president of electronic health-records applications for 12-hospital Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, will be heading to Washington soon to become deputy national coordinator for programs and policy.

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The Office of the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy is one of five key divisions of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, and the position most recently was held by Dr. Farzad Mostashari, now the head of ONC.

Mostashari announced the appointment Monday at the Medical Group Management Association's annual convention in Las Vegas.

“The biggest change will be leaving Aurora,” Murphy said. “I've been here for 36 years. I started there as a staff nurse straight out of college.”

But, she said, “This was too big of a thing to turn down. They need me, I need them. I want to help them.”

Murphy is no stranger to the doings in D.C., having served on the HIT Standards Committee's implementation workgroup, where she was co-chairwoman, as well as the meaningful-use workgroup of the HIT Policy Committee, all of which advise the ONC.

She also has served as a member of the board of directors of the American Medical Informatics Association and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

“Farzad's been quoted many times saying things like, nurses get it done,” Murphy said. “It's kind of fun to see I'll be able to work with him in that way. I think we're both pretty good organizers, project manager, executors. It's not vision time right now, it's execution time. He sets the agenda, so I'm going to follow it.”

Murphy said that having a boss who's actually worked in the position she will inherit is a plus.

“I see that as helpful, not scary at all, when your boss just understands what needs to be done,” she said. “It just makes your job so much easier.”

Mostashari described Murphy as “just a terrific, terrific person who brings not only real-life experience with EHR implementation. She brings that scientific experience with AMIA. She also brings that concern for patients that nurses have been doing for our healthcare system for centuries and puts it all in a package. And, she has amazing positive energy."

Dr. Harry Greenspun, who served with Murphy on the HIMSS board, said that in addition to her “deep understanding of health IT issues, Judy's leadership in the nursing community helps to further engage this critical part of healthcare delivery.” Greenspun is a senior adviser for healthcare transformation and technology for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

HHS recently announced the reorganization of the ONC, with deputies heading four divisions reporting to an as-yet unnamed principal deputy, who will report to Mostashari.

In the new set up, the deputy national coordinator for programs and policy oversees the ONC offices of standards and interoperability, provider adoption support, state and community programs and policy and planning, according to an organizational chart on the ONC's website.

Murphy said there are about 100 people working in the division, including employees, contract workers and consultants.

“There are fairly strong directors in each of the programs and they've been doing the work for a while now, so obviously, I'm going to be relying on them or helping out where they need assistance,” she said. “I am so looking forward to this. It's going to be fun working with all of these people with these big grand ideas.”

Murphy said her last day at Aurora will be Nov. 23. She starts at ONC on Dec. 5.


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