The resignation of David Brailer as HHS' first healthcare information technology chief drew words of regret for his departure and praise for his accomplishments from members of the healthcare IT community. During his two-year reign as HHS' national coordinator for health IT, Brailer logged hundreds of thousands of air miles, giving more than 200 speeches last year alone. "He did a remarkable job being an evangelist" for the field, said David Merritt, project director at the Center for Health Transformation, a consultancy that lobbies for a national health IT infrastructure. Now, Brailer's departure represents an opportunity to bring in "more of a builder than an advocate," Merritt said. "At this point, that's what we need."
Brailer's resignation, announced Thursday, will take effect May 19, soon after the next meeting of the American Health Information Community, an advisory committee created last June by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. Brailer will join Leavitt as co-chairman of AHIC and serve as a consultant to HHS, the agency said in a news release.