David Brailer being a no-show in the pulpit at the TEPR healthcare technology conference and trade show in Salt Lake City this year was the health information technology equivalent of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir skipping Sunday service.
The faithful gathered this week at the 21st annual running of one what is arguably one of the most important healthcare IT shows (second only to the annual conference by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) whose uncondensed name, Toward an Electronic Patient Record, precisely describes the direction Brailer, HHS' national coordinator for health information technology, hopes to lead the entire healthcare industry.
A year ago, Brailer was just four days into his new job as President Bush's appointee as the nation's healthcare IT evangelist when he flew to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to deliver his first sermon from the pulpit as the TEPR keynote speaker. It was the start of what's been a yearlong song of praise from the IT community for Brailer, a physician and tech company founder.
Naturally, he was invited back to TEPR, which is put on by the Medical Records Institute of Boston. This year Brailer was allotted 45 minutes Tuesday to present "An Overview of the Federal Landscape," headlining the government initiatives track that was billed in the official program as "the meat of the (three-day) conference."
But all of us have bosses, and Brailer's are HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and the president Bush, who, just days before the show, called him to remain in Washington, according to his office and a notice posted at the conference.
If attendees were disappointed, none of the true believers complained, figuring their guru was called to do God's work.