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Former ONC chief Kolodner named CMO at telehealth company ViTel Net

By Joseph Conn
Posted: May 6, 2013 - 1:00 pm ET

Veteran physician informaticist Dr. Robert Kolodner, the former head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, has been named VP and chief medical officer at ViTel Net, McLean, Va., a provider of telehealth software and services, the company has announced.

“Rob Kolodner brings a wealth of clinical experience and knowledge to ViTel Net,” said Allen Izadpanah, president and CEO, in a news release. “His appointment ensures we continue to anticipate our customers' future needs as well as the needs of other innovative healthcare providers.”

Kolodner led the ONC as interim director in 2006 and then as director from 2007 to April 2009. He was named to Modern Healthcare's and Modern Physician's list of the 50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare from 2005 through April 2008. He has served as chief technical officer for OpenHealth Tools since 2009. A psychiatrist, he also served 28 years in various capacities, including chief medical information officer, at the Veterans Affairs Department, and helped develop its VistA electronic health-record system.

“With the spread of smart mobile devices for physiological data, telehealth I see is on the verge of becoming mainstream and ubiquitous,” said Kolodner, who was reached by a telephone at the annual meeting of the American Telehealth Association in Austin, Texas. As opposed to the initial wave of telehealth technology, which was provider driven, the coming wave will be powered by patient and consumer demand, he said.

“This ability to connect high-end equipment with an iPhone or an Android gives people increased choices on how to engage with the healthcare system,” Kolodner said. “Predictions are always dangerous, but when things are really close, you don't see it coming. We've been kind of preparing the infrastructure. We're all carrying smartphones. It's analogous to doctors making house calls, which they used to do. Now, we'll be able to do that in a way that's faster, easier and more efficient for clinicians and patients. When the people who are looking for care start choosing their providers based on 'Can I visit you remotely rather than having to take a half day off?' that will move the marketplace.”

“I think within five years, we'll see a major uptick,” he said.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn


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