The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced March 20 the selection of David Blumenthal as the Obama administration’s choice for national coordinator for health information technology.
A physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Blumenthal is also director of the MGH Institute for Health Policy, Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine, and professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is the director of the Harvard University Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement.
As the national coordinator, Blumenthal will lead the implementation of a nationwide interoperable, privacy-protected, health information technology infrastructure as called for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
ARRA includes a $19.5 billion investment in health information technology, which will save money, improve quality of care for patients, and make the U.S. health care system more efficient, according to the HHS release. Blumenthal will lead the effort at HHS to modernize health care information technology by 2014, thereby reducing health costs for the federal government by an estimated $12 billion over 10 years.
“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve President Obama and the American people in the effort to harness the power of health information technology to modernize our health care system,” Blumenthal said. “As a primary care physician who has used an electronic record to care for patients every day for 10 years, I understand the enormous potential of this technology.”