Newswise — Kensaku Kawamoto, Ph.D., associate Chief Medical Information Officer and assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics, has been appointed to a 3-year term on the U.S. Health Information Technology (HIT) Advisory Committee, announced the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in an August 3, 2017 press release.

“I am excited to join the committee and hope to positively influence the direction of our nation’s healthcare system,” said Kawamoto. “There are certainly many challenges, but I believe there are tremendous opportunities for improving our healthcare system through the intelligent application of information technology.”

According to Kawamoto, the HIT Advisory Committee will provide recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on the health IT infrastructure required to enhance health and health care in the United States, including through the appropriate use of electronic health record (EHR) systems.

“Every patient deserves to receive the best care possible, and we need information systems that are fine-tuned and optimized to help accomplish this ultimate goal,” said Kawamoto.  “An EHR system should also be a tool [that] clinicians enjoy using because it helps them efficiently provide the right care for their patients.”

Kawamoto’s accomplishments earned him one of 15 appointments to the committee selected by the GAO director.

“Ken is leading the nation in designing EHR tools that can be shared with a hospital in any state,” said Wendy Chapman, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at U of U Health. “This appointment is a recognition of Ken's national leadership role in building tools that make EHRs smarter so that we can improve patient care and the provider experience.”

Kawamoto is one of five members who received the longest appointment, a three-year term on the committee. This longer tenure gives him the time to help move healthcare forward. His appointment maybe renewed for a second three-year term.

“It is extremely valuable to have a range of perspectives and expertise in helping the government address challenges related to health information technology,” Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the GAO, stated in the agency’s press release. “GAO received nominations for many highly qualified individuals, and I’m pleased to announce this first round of appointments to the HIT Advisory Committee.”

Kawamoto acknowledges his team’s success is made possible by the progressive and innovative support of the U of U Health leadership, including Michael Strong, M.D., Chief Medical Information Officer, Jim Turnbull, D.H.A., Chief Information Officer, Wendy Chapman, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, and Thomas Miller, M.D., Chief Medical Officer.

“I care a lot about this work,” Kawamoto said. “Health IT systems are very fragmented, and we really need to improve how we share our data, knowledge, and tools across institutions so that we can improve patient care locally, regionally, and nationally.”

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