John D. Halamka is a medical doctor. He specialises in the adoption of electronic health records and the secure sharing of healthcare data for care coordination, population health, and quality improvement.
Early life and education
Halamka was born in Des Moines, Iowa and relocated to Southern California in 1968. He attended St. James Elementary School and Palos Verdes High School.
He graduated from Stanford University in 1984 with degrees in Public Policy and Medical Microbiology. While at Stanford he wrote econometrics software for Milton Friedman, performed research for the autobiography of Dr. Edward Teller, and served as teaching assistant to Presidential candidate John B. Anderson. He authored three books on technology issues, wrote a regular column for InfoWorld, and was founding technical editor for Computer Language magazine.
In 1981, he formed a software startup company, Ibis Research Labs, in the basement of Frederick Terman's Palo Alto home. The company developed tax and accounting software for CP/M and early IBM PC computers; it grew to have 25 employees and was sold to senior management in 1992.
He attended the joint MD/PhD program at UCSF and UC Berkeley between 1984 & 1993 and completed an Emergency Medicine residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center between 1993 & 1996.
Halamka joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School as an instructor in 1996. He completed a post doctoral fellowship in medical informatics at Harvard and MIT in 1997. Soon after, he was selected to be the Executive Director of CareGroup Center for Quality and Value (CQV), a data analysis and business intelligence division of the Caregroup Healthcare System.
In 1998, he was named Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and initiated a multi-year effort to securely web-enable clinical information systems with CareWeb. In 2001, he was hired as part-time Chief Information Officer at Harvard Medical School. In 2004, he was named Chairman of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP). In April 2011, he was named full Professor at Harvard Medical School.
In July 2011, Halamka announced his intention to step down from his Harvard Medical School CIO role in 2012. In August 2011, he was named Co-Chair of the Massachusetts HIT/HIE Advisory Committee, a multi-stakeholder group which advises the Massachusetts HIT Council, the governance body which sets priorities and approves the allocation of state and federal funds for healthcare information technology spending in Massachusetts.
In March 2012, he was named to the board of OSEHRA, the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent, a non-profit established by the Department of Veterans Affairs, dedicated to accelerating innovation in electronic health record software.
In December 2019, he was named the President of the Mayo Clinic Platform, to commence January 1, 2020. The platform is a coordinated portfolio approach to create new platform ventures to take advantage of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, connected healthcare devices, and natural language processing.
Halamka continues his work as an emergency physician, and provides mushroom and poisonous plant consultation to the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention (Boston).
In 2012, Halamka and his wife Kathy founded Unity Farm, an organic certified producer of fruits, vegetables, and cider. In 2016, they founded Unity Farm Sanctuary , a charitable organization providing forever homes to farm animals in need, in addition to community education and volunteer opportunities.
He also writes the blog, Geekdoctor: Life as a Healthcare CIO.
Halamka has authored the following books:
- The Best of CP/M Software
- Real World Unix
- Espionage in the Silicon Valley
- The Fifth Domain (co-authored with Giuliano Pozza)
- GeekDoctor: Life as a Healthcare CIO
- Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine: The Role of Patient Data, Mobile Technology, and Consumer Engagement (co-authored by Paul Cerrato)
- The Transformative Power of Mobile Medicine: Leveraging Innovation, Seizing Opportunities and Overcoming Obstacles of mHealth (co-authored by Paul Cerrato)