Harvard Med School CIO Halamka exiting big job

Citing some of the major information technology challenges Harvard medical researchers face, Dr. John Halamka, a nationally recognized IT expert, says that he plans to leave his post as CIO of Harvard Medical School. Halamka, who plans to keep his job as CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, made the news public on his blog, saying that "the science of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) is becoming more computationally intensive."

Halamka, a physician, has been a top advisor to the U.S. government as it pushes for doctors across the country to implement electronic health records.

Harvard Medical School is one of the top life sciences research institutions in the Boston area, if not the world. And Halamka points out just how different the computational demands between HMS and the Beth Israel hospital are. At HMS, for example, whole genome analysis tools and microscope image data require huge amounts of storage capacity as well as specialized infrastructure. At Beth Israel, there are several new standards in healthcare that call for the hospital to take different types of IT-related measures.

"I believe that [HMS] requires a full-time dedicated CIO with a skill set in highly scalable infrastructure and the tools needed to support emerging science," Halamka wrote.

He writes that he'll be working with HMS to find his replacement as well as serving the dean of the medical school on certain tech initiatives. In any case, there appears to be an opening at the school for his successor, who would have some very big shoes to fill.

- read Halamka's post
- here's Mass High Tech's report

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