The Obama administration today is announcing that David Blumenthal, a Harvard Medical professor who is director of the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital, will be national coordinator for health information technology.
In his new post, he will be in charge of nearly $20 billion in the economic stimulus package to build health IT, including encouraging more doctors and hospitals to use computers.
“President Obama believes we must take serious steps to modernize our healthcare system in order to improve the health of all Americans, bring down costs, and ensure sustained long-term economic growth. Health information technology is a critical part of the President’s strategy to reform our health care system and as one of the nation’s leading health information technology experts, Dr. Blumenthal has the experience and the vision to help make this effort a reality,” Jenny Backus, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.
“As a practicing physician and a leading scholar on health information technology, Dr. Blumenthal is uniquely qualified to help America’s doctors, nurses, hospitals, and patients reap the benefits of a modernized health system. Dr. Blumenthal shares President Obama’s commitment to investing in a health IT infrastructure that will protect patient privacy, and improve both quality and efficiency in our nation’s health system.”
Senator Edward M. Kennedy applauded the choice of Blumenthal, who was on Kennedy’s health staff from 1977 to 1980.
"President Obama has made an inspired choice in selecting David Blumenthal to lead the Administration’s effort to bring health care into the digital age. David is the right person to oversee this major initiative to reduce costs, avoid errors, improve care, and save lives,” Kennedy said in a statement.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.