Arien Malec, the federal contractor responsible for overseeing development of government and industry collaboration to facilitate peer-to-peer health information exchange, is resigning to return to the private sector, according to an announcement on the official blog of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
Malec returning to private sector
Malec has served nearly 18 months at the ONC as coordinator of the Direct Project, which developed a set of specifications for encrypted exchange of electronic clinical messages between providers, labs and patients with an eye to achieving the IT interoperability goals of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payment programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Malec also served as coordinator of the Standards and Interoperability Framework, an ONC effort to provide structure to the public and private-sector development of a nationwide, interoperable health information exchange network. Malec worked at ONC under a contract with A+ Consulting, according to a biographical posting. Malec was on a leave of absence from RelayHealth, a McKesson Corp. subsidiary.
In the ONC blog post, Malec said, “Sometimes people read too much into decisions like this, so to be completely clear, I am not making this decision because I disagree with anything that is currently happening.
“I am West Coast based, and much of the work has been in Washington, D.C., and the need to be in D.C. to do my work well has only been increasing with the wider work I have been doing at ONC. The travel has been hard on my family, and they have been telling me (quite loudly at times) to spend more time close to home.”
ONC head Dr. Farzad Mostashari, in the same post, said Malec's “groundbreaking” work “will help healthcare providers immeasurably.”
Dr. Doug Fridsma, director of the Office of Standards and Interoperability at ONC, said Jitin Asnaani, who has worked with the Standards and Interoperability Framework initiatives, will serve as coordinator of that effort, and interim coordinator of the Direct Project.
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