The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has named Kathryn Marchesini as its new chief privacy officer.
Marchesini will advise the ONC on health information privacy and security—especially as they relate to implementing the 21st Century Cures Act, she said Wednesday. "I expect I'll be encouraging ONC to continue inspiring trust in health information technology," she said.
She'll also address uncertainties about the "interplay of privacy and security" that have arisen as technology has evolved, she said.
Marchesini is no stranger to the privacy officer role. She served as acting chief privacy officer for the ONC in 2014 before Karen DeSalvo, then the head of the ONC, named Lucia Savage to the position.
The position has remained vacant since October 2017, when Deven McGraw, who had been acting chief privacy officer, resigned. There has been speculation since last summer that the role would be phased out entirely, given ONC funding cuts. But that assumption was incorrect, according to an ONC spokesperson. What's more, a chief privacy officer is required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.
Recently, Marchesini advised the National Institutes of Health and other agencies on privacy, security, technology and healthcare. Earlier, she was deputy director for privacy at HHS, and before that, consulted for Deloitte Consulting and Booz Allen Hamilton.
"Kathryn is a well-respected expert on the HIPAA rules from both the government and public sectors," ONC head Dr. Donald Rucker wrote in an email to his staff. "I appreciate … the work she has done to support the use of health IT across the healthcare industry."