Blue Cross executive named to committee

The senior vice president and chief information officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has been named to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.

Warachote “Ob” Soonthornsima was named to the committee, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced in May.

Soonthornsima, whose term began June 1, is the lone insurance industry representative on the panel.

The NCVHS advises the HHS chief on policy related to health statistics and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA.

According to its charter, the panel’s primary function is to “monitor the nation’s health data needs and current approaches to meeting those needs and identify emerging health data issues, including methodologies and technologies of information systems, databases and networking that could improve abilities to meet those needs.”

Soonthornsima has been the top information technology and security officer at Blue Cross since 2003.

He also directs the company’s Louisiana Health Information Technology strategy. The effort’s goal is to increase the use of electronic health records across the state. He is credited with a major IT transformation during his time at Blue Cross that has led to a new e-business framework, the replacement of a legacy claims system and introduction of payer-based e-prescribing and personal health records.

His professional experience centers on the insurance/financial services industry. Major focuses include information technology, business process engineering and program management development.

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