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Bush Creates Health IT Post

First position of its kind to focus on establishing infrastructure.

Making good on his promise to put someone in charge of spurring adoption of IT in healthcare, President George W. Bush named David Brailer, M.D., Ph.D., as the country's first National Health Information Technology Coordinator. Brailer will report to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, who announced the appointment last month.

Brailer will coordinate government agencies and private healthcare providers in creating a national electronic infrastructure that would help accomplish another promise made by the president - that most Americans will have electronic health records within 10 years.

A senior fellow at the Health Technology Center in San Francisco, Brailer has advised on regional and national efforts on IT and health-information exchange. He previously served for 10 years as chairman of CareScience, a healthcare management company.

Brailer's appointment shows that the government is serious about the medical records initiative, says Debbie Applebaum, a consultant with Milliman USA (Seattle). "Having all that information gathered in one place and being able to control it in a secure and confidential way is daunting," she says. Though Brailer's mission will have more impact on the provider side, he will also bring welcome focus to issues that concern payers, Applebaum adds. "Information on electronic medical record standards is hard to come by. Pulling that together and having a consolidated place where it is available will be beneficial to insurance companies."

This article, by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee with contributions from Anthony O'Donnell, originally appeared in InformationWeek, a sibling publication of Insurance & Technology.

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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