Former Siemens exec to head ONC

Dr. Donald Rucker has been named head of HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Rucker is currently an adjunct professor at Ohio State University’s college of medicine in the biomedical informatics department. Previously, he was chief medical officer for Siemens.

Before joining Siemens, Rucker was an emergency department physician and one of the developers of the first Windows-based electronic medical records at Datamedic.

The ONC helps guide the use of health IT across the country through standards and incentive programs.

The health IT industry has been anxious for the ONC to get a new coordinator since Vindell Washington left the post in January 2017, a month after Congress enacted the 21st Century Cures Act. The legislation has far-reaching health IT implications, particularly when it comes to interoperability and so-called “information blocking.”

Rucker’s appointment comes on the heels of the news that former Louisiana congressman Dr. John Fleming will serve as deputy assistant secretary for health technology reform, a new position within HHS.

HHS was not immediately available for comment.

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