A top executive at Cerner Corp., one of the nation's largest healthcare information-technology companies, took issue with the national health IT plans of HHS' David Brailer, who until now has enjoyed near universal industry support. Cerner President and Chief Executive Officer Neal Patterson criticized Brailer's handling of HHS contracts for a prototype national IT infrastructure, expected to be awarded later this year. Speaking Saturday at a leadership forum hosted by Cerner, Patterson also disagreed with Brailer over appropriate models for regional health information organizations, or RHIOs, which are being viewed as a likely foundation for a national network. At deadline, Brailer could not be reached for comment. Cerner is developing a for-profit RHIO with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee to help rescue TennCare, the state's troubled Medicaid program. They intend to expand the network to multiple payers. Brailer, HHS' national coordinator for health IT, has held up multiple provider data networks as a model. Patterson said he had discussed his concerns with Brailer. "I think we need to debate (IT) architecture," he said. Patterson also criticized Brailer for preaching IT interoperability without endorsing a national patient identifier. "You can't have interoperability without a national ID," he said. -- by Joseph Conn
Cerner CEO breaks with Brailer over IT networks
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