HHS names new national healthcare IT coordinator

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David Blumenthal, MD, chairman of the Harvard Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement. Image Source: Courtesy of Harvard News Office

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has chosen David Blumenthal, MD, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama's campaign, to lead healthcare IT efforts for the administration.

Blumenthal, a Harvard Medical School professor who is also the director of the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, will be in charge of nearly $20 billion in stimulus funds earmarked for healthcare IT and efforts for adoption, according to the Boston Globe.

In a statement released by HHS, a spokeswoman for the department said that Blumenthal shares President Obama's commitment to investing in healthcare IT infrastructure to modernize the U.S. healthcare system in order to "improve the health of all Americans, bring down costs and ensure sustained long-term economic growth," reported the Globe.

Blumenthal was the founding chairman of AcademyHealth, formerly the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, the national organization of health services researchers. He is also director of the Harvard University Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement.

From 1995 to 2002, he served as executive director for the Commonwealth Fund Task Force on Academic Health Centers. From 1987-1991, he served as senior vice president at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, and serves on several editorial boards, including the American Journal of Medicine, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, and the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine.