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Obama Appoints Healthcare IT Coordinator

Dr. David Blumenthal will lead the implementation of a nationwide healthcare IT infrastructure.

The Obama administration has selected David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P. as its choice for National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Friday.

Most recently a physician and director of the Institute for Health Policy at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare System in Boston, Blumenthal will be tasked with leading the implementation of a nationwide interoperable, privacy-protected health information technology infrastructure as called for in the recent passed stimulus package.

In addition to his role at Mass General, Blumenthal was also the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine and Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. There, he also served as director of the Harvard University Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement.

"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," said HHS spokeswoman Jenny Backus in a press release. "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 care system."

According to the release, Blumenthal has extensively researched the dissemination of healthcare IT and served as a senior health adviser to the Obama for America campaign. "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. President Obama has laid out a vision of health reform that is both inspiring and long overdue. We cannot make that vision a reality without the help of our most advanced computer technology."

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