After nearly three weeks at the helm of HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Dr. Farzad Mostashari further described his vision for the ONC as the healthcare community works through what he called "an intense phase of implementation" of health IT.
"We're approaching the virtuous cycle where what providers need to do to succeed in the new era of healthcare financing requires better information," Mostashari said Tuesday at the Bipartisan Partisan Policy Center in Washington. "And those better information systems can then help create alternatives for healthcare financing—better payment for quality, not quantity, that didn't exist before."
Mostashari said he has been asked what he will do the same and what he will do differently at the ONC. Above all, he said, the office will move ahead with the principles that have shaped the ONC thus far—principles regarding the role of government and the office's theory of change in healthcare.
"We believe in the private marketplace," Mostashari said. "We believe that the innovation from industry, the innovation from an effective, efficient market is the biggest driver of innovation." He added that there are times when government action is needed to create "more-perfect" markets. The government, for example, can help make sure the healthcare market is competitive, ensure that providers are reimbursed adequately for implementing an electronic health-record system, and develop and apply health IT standards.
"We have to do the minimum government action necessary, but no less," Mostashari said. "And we have to beware that we don't create government failures in trying to solve market failures. We have to have humility about what we can and can't do."