Physician, researcher and healthcare policy wonk David Blumenthal was named as President Barack Obamas choice to become the national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, an announcement that met with approval from industry groups.
There is not a more appropriate selection than Dr. David Blumenthal as National Coordinator to lead Americas Health Information Technology efforts through this period of expansion and great promise," according to a written statement from Linda Kloss, chief executive officer of the American Health Information Management Association.
"Dr. Blumenthal offers his vast knowledge on healthcare policy and extensive experience in the intersection between healthcare delivery and information technology," according to a statement from Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of the Health Information and Management Systems Society.
Blumenthal, an internist who founded the Institute for Health Policy at 907-bed Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, in 1998, intimately knows the size and contours of the gaps in EHR adoption rates at U.S. hospitals and doctors offices.
The institute, under contract with HHS, has produced multiple reports on the EHR penetration gaps at hospitals and physician offices. It is scheduled next week to release results of a studyto be published online by the New England Journal of Medicineon EHR use in hospitals, according to a news release. In the same issue, Blumenthal is publishing an article on encouraging the adoption of healthcare IT given that Congress has authorized spending an estimated $19.2 billion on IT subsidies in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Congress specifically appropriated $2 billion for the Office of the National Coordinator.
In 2007, Blumenthal became senior health adviser for Obamas presidential campaign and previously served on the White House Health Professional Advisory Group during the Clinton administration. Before that, he was a staff member for Sen. Edward Kennedy's health and scientific-research subcommittee. Blumenthal, who replaces physician Robert Kolodner as ONC chief, was named to Modern Healthcares list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare in 2003, 2004 and 2006.