David Blumenthal, President Barack Obamas choice to become the third national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, was lauded by industry insiders as a good choice.
Blumenthal, an internist who is director and founder of the Institute for Health Policy at 907-bed Massachusetts General Hospital, part of Partners HealthCare System in Boston, was praised for his policy experience, though he has relatively less experience working directly with healthcare IT.
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, said Linda Kloss, chief executive officer of the American Health Information Management Association, in a written statement.
Blumenthal, 60, replaces physician Robert Kolodner, who has served in the role since 2006.
Blumenthal is experienced in the rough and tumble politics of healthcare policymaking, according to various biographies either distributed by HHS when his appointment was announced or on Web sites of organizations to which he is a member. 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 (D-Mass.). He also serves as an adviser on healthcare policy to the Open Society Institute, whose chairman is billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros. Blumenthal was named to Modern Healthcares list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare in 2003, (36th), 2004 (42nd) and 2006 (68th). He was 36th on sister publication Modern Physicians 50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare list.