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Bluementhal is new health IT czar

David Blumenthal, known slightly more for being a policy wonk than a geek (or perhaps known best for being a wonk about geek issues!), has been appointed the new Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. No official word on Rob Kolodner’s new role, although John Halamka suggests that he’ll stay on to run the stimulus package. Don’t forget that ONC gets $2 billion as part of the HITECH bill, so someone needs to be there to manage the bureaucratic part of that.

And no, none of the five candidates pimped on THCB by Kibbe and Klepper got the job…I’m sure we’ll hear from them about Blumenthal shortly.

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Wendell MurrayRandall Oates, M.D.OliverDavid C. Kibbe, MD MBAJohn Ballard Recent comment authors
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Wendell Murray
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Just read the list of candidates suggested by the posting in this weblog a while back. Mr. Bosworth seems to be the one with the necessary technical savvy. My usual pitch on the topic is for the federal government to find a sponsor – along the lines of the Apache Software Foundation – to develop a FOSS EMR/PM system. The PatientOS system – still in development but still currently usable – would be an excellent start. eClinicalWorks might even be willing to donate its source code. Stranger things have happened. Not only that but any investment of public funds could… Read more »

Randall Oates, M.D.
Guest

Is Dr. Blumenthal one who can inspire and lead physicians into a better system, or will he more inclined to ass-u-me that physicians can be forced?
Does Dr. Blumenthal have experience in the settings of smaller, independent practices (where most care is delivered), or does his experience base come primarily from larger systems that have larger IT departments and larger IT budgets?
What little I know about him leads me to believe his end goals are admirable. My concern is related to whether or not he understands what means are likely to succeed.

Oliver
Guest
Oliver

Hmmm. And where does the patient stand in this anticipated development in the medical business, or is this simply about streamlined billing for improved physician-insurance profit? On taxpayer-patient dime, no less.

David C. Kibbe, MD MBA
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David C. Kibbe, MD MBA

No, Matthew, you won’t be hearing from me about David Blumenthal, except in this comment. He’s a fine choice for this position, a professional who has the experience and skills to connect investments in health IT with health care payment reform such that they complement each other. Regards, DCK

John Ballard
Guest

This is one of THCB’s cleverest posts. The comments thread is almost a Who’s Who of the topic.
Dr. Lippin, you getting this?

tcoyote
Guest
tcoyote

He is also a practicing clinician (internist) with lengthy, practical experience with clinical IT, perhaps the best qualification of all. He has broad bandwidth and a wealth of contacts across the field. This was a superb choice!

Matthew Holt
Guest

Cats & dogs, living together, mass hysteria…..

Margalit Gur-Arie
Guest

How lovely, Vince. He’s a “catdog” just like me 🙂

Vince Kuraitis
Guest

Blumenthal appears to by sympathetic to cats (incumbents who say: “have the doctors just show the sales receipt and reimburse them for acquiring technology) AND supportive of dogs (innovators who say: “reward quality and outcome improvements, not acquisition of technology”).

Mark Leavitt
Guest

I had the opportunity to work with David Blumenthal recently when I served on an expert panel for the health IT adoption studies. He has a deep understanding of applied health IT and, even more important, how clinicians interact with these systems in the real world. This is great news for everyone interested in advancing the use of health IT to improve quality, safety, and cost efficiency.