Friday, March 20, 2009

Blumenthal Named Health IT Coordinator for HHS

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has selected David Blumenthal, MD, MPP to serve as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Dr. Blumenthal will lead efforts to create a secure, interoperable health IT network. This effort, which is a priority for the Obama Administration, will be funded by $19.5 billion from The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Dr. Blumenthal has extensive experience in health policy. He was recently a physician and director at the Institute of Health Policy at The Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare System in Boston, Massachusetts. He was also the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine and Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and served as director of the Harvard University Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement. Prior to that, he was senior vice president at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and served as executive director of the Center for Health Policy and Management and as a lecturer on Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Dr. Blumenthal worked on Senator Edward Kennedy's Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research in the 1970s and as a senior health adviser to the Obama for America campaign. He has focused on issues such as the dissemination of health information technology, quality management in health care, the determinants of physician behavior, access to health services, and the extent and consequences of academic-industrial relationships in the health sciences.

Modernizing health care through the implementation of a health IT system by 2014 is expected to increase the safety and efficiency of care, minimize errors, and reduce the federal government's health care costs by $12 billion over 10 years.

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