National Library of Medicine names 1st chief health data standards officer

The National Library of Medicine, a program of the National Institutes of Health, appointed Clem McDonald, MD, its first chief health data standards officer, effective Nov. 1.

In the newly-created role, Dr. McDonald will spearhead efforts to integrate data standards across the agency, with an emphasis on interoperability standards — such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR — and various data vocabularies specific to clinical care. He will also work with with industry, academic and government partners to encourage the use of health data standards.

Dr. McDonald spent the past 12 years as director of the agency's Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications in Bethesda, Md., and as scientific director of the center's intramural research program. His research focuses on clinical informatics, including analyzing large clinical databases and using FHIR to bring EHR data into medical research.

Prior to joining the National Library of Medicine, Dr. McDonald was a professor of medical informatics at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and the director of the Regenstrief Institute for Health Care, an Indianapolis-based medical research institute affiliated with Indiana University School of Medicine.

While working at Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute, Dr. McDonald developed one of the first EHRs and one of the first health information exchanges, according to the National Library of Medicine.

"Dr. McDonald was an early medical informatics pioneer and has spent his career leading data standards efforts," Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, director of the National Library of Medicine, said in a news release. "We are indeed fortunate to have enlisted him as the inaugural holder of this appointment."

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