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Walter Suarez, MD, MPH

by Delonte Brooks

October 6, 2021

Executive Director, HIT Strategy & Policy, Kaiser Permanente;
Chair, Board of Directors, HL7 International

Dr. Suarez is a physician and a public health and medical information systems specialist. As Executive Director of Health IT Strategy and Policy at KP, he is responsible for developing KP’s internal and external eHealth/Health IT policy positions and providing national and international leadership and guidance on several health IT-related domains including digital health, electronic health record systems, standards and interoperability, health care administrative processes, privacy and security, artificial intelligence, telehealth, mHealth, medical device interoperability, and health information exchanges.

Dr. Suarez is a physician and a public health and medical information systems specialist. He is the Executive Director of Health IT Strategy and Policy at Kaiser Permanente, where he is responsible for developing Kaiser’s internal and external eHealth/Health IT policy positions and providing national and international leadership and guidance on several health IT-related domains including digital health, electronic health record systems, standards and interoperability, health care administrative processes, privacy and security, artificial intelligence, telehealth, mHealth, medical device interoperability, and health information exchanges. He is also the Chair of HL7 International, Vice-Chair of the HIMSS Americas Board of Advisors, and former Chair of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.

Between 2008 and 2016 Dr. Suarez was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to serve in the prestigious National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS). In 2015 Dr. Suarez was appointed the Chair of NCVHS, the first Hispanic physician to serve in this position. He also served in the U.S. Health IT Standards Committee advising the National Coordinator for Health IT at HHS.

Dr. Suarez is a founding member of the Digital Bridge Initiative to advance interoperability between public health and health care organizations, and of the Gravity Project, a global HL7 Accelerator Initiative focusing on technology-enabled Social Determinants of Health interoperability. He is also a founding member and Chair-elect of the Global Consortium for eHealth Interoperability, an international collaborative effort between HIMSS, HL7 and IHE.

Dr. Suarez has been an advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) on eHealth programs, and is actively engaged in regional initiatives supporting several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean aimed at advancing digital health transformation, such as RACSEL (the Latin American Cooperation Network for Electronic Health) funded by the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), and most recently the Digital Health Transformation for Latin America and the Caribbean under the Regional Public Goods program of the IDB, with the support of PAHO and WHO.

Dr. Suarez is an active member of several national and international health-related standards development organizations. He is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of HL7 International, the developer of the most influential and widely used health care technical standards in the world, including HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource). He is also a member of other standards organizations, including ASC-X12N, developer of most of the HIPAA transaction standards in the US, and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), focusing on health technology management and standards in the medical device and artificial intelligence fields.