At the CMS, Kahn is kept busy working with 50 state Medicaid EHR incentive programs authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Some well-prepared states began making Medicaid payments to providers for EHR adoption in January. To date, 11 states have programs up and running, and five have made payments.
Kahn holds a master's degree in public health from Tulane University in New Orleans and an undergraduate degree in government and French from the University of Texas at Austin. From 1992 through 1994, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in maternal and child health in Niger.
Kahn has since worked in state health departments in Maryland with an HIV/AIDS program and in Louisiana on HIV and family planning.
One thing the lead vote recipients have in common: Both are active Twitter users. Kahn tweets at @JessPKahn; Chasin at @CMIOblog.
Third place in the poll with at 14.1% of the vote went to Dr. Robert Hitchcock, vice president of solution management at T-System, a health IT system and paper-based forms producer for emergency rooms.
Fourth place at 8.3% went to Dr. John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and at Harvard Medical School and a peripatetic writer and blogger, writing for Health Affairs and the Health Care Blog and authoring his own blog, "Life of a Healthcare CIO".
Fifth place, with 5.6%, went to Dr. William Hersh, professor and chairman of Oregon Health & Science University's Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology Department.
The ONC was created in April 2004 by executive order of then-President George W. Bush. In seven years, there have been three ONC chiefs whose terms, on average, lasted 28 months. I asked Khan which of the ONC's many projects and programs she would make her top priority should she be selected to run the office.
With her work now focused on the Medicaid incentive program, "I don't know that I understand the full scope of what Dr. Blumenthal has to work on," Kahn said. "I do know that there is tremendous momentum across many agencies. I think that's really the lynchpin with us at Medicaid … the partnership with the other agencies and leverage (from) each other's works. It's really just collaboration, and I think ONC does a really good job of that now and that's just going to be that much more pressing" going forward.