White House Names New Federal CTO - InformationWeek

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White House Names New Federal CTO

Todd Park, CTO of Health and Human Services Department, gets the nod as the new federal chief technology officer. Park is known for his open government work.

The Obama administration has named a leader of the open government movement, Department of Health and Human Services chief technology officer Todd Park, as the nation's new federal chief technology officer, the White House announced Friday.

Park comes to the White House after 18 productive months as what observers have called HHS' "entrepreneur in residence." An energetic former executive who founded healthcare tech company Athenahealth and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, Park led numerous initiatives at HHS in the last two years, including electronic health records efforts and the development of insurance comparison shopping site HealthCare.gov.

The federal CTO reports on a dotted line to President Obama and serves as the associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In that role, the CTO oversees IT-related research and development spending and serves in a key advisory capacity for the President's innovation agenda.

Among the first to congratulate Park on his new role was former federal CTO Aneesh Chopra, who took to Twitter to call Park "an outstanding pick" for the next federal CTO. Chopra left the White House in early February amid reports that he would seek elected office in his home state of Virginia.

[ The Federal government faces a lot of technology challenges. Read Fed CIOs Try To End Duplicate IT Investments. ]

Park will make his first public appearance since the announcement Saturday at the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, where he's slated to talk with White House digital strategy director Macon Phillips and Intuit CEO Scott Cook about "how Silicon Valley is inspiring the government and enterprise sectors."

Park has been one of the foremost advocates of open government within the Obama administration. He has called for the creation of a healthcare data clearinghouse and speaks regularly on open government-related issues. Park has said that he sees open government as a way to make government work better. "The ultimate measure of success should be improvement in the fundamental efficiency and effectiveness of government," he said in a 2010 interview with InformationWeek.

From his role in HHS, Park helped out not only with electronic health records and HealthCare.gov, but also with the development of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Blue Button initiative for downloading veteran healthcare records, an online community for healthcare data at Data.gov, a new data council at HHS, and the release of APIs by the agency for application developer use. InformationWeek named Park one of the government's top 50 IT leaders in 2011.

Before joining HHS, Park was co-founder, chief development officer, and executive VP at health IT company Athenahealth, a management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

As federal agencies embrace devices and apps to meet employee demand, the White House seeks one comprehensive mobile strategy. Also in the new Going Mobile issue of InformationWeek Government: Find out how the National Security Agency is developing technologies to make commercial devices suitable for intelligence work. (Free registration required.)

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