President Barack Obama tapped Harvard Medical School’s David Blumenthal, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Health Policy, to lead his effort to upgrade the nation’s health information technology infrastructure.
As National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Blumenthal will help decide how to spend the $19.5 billion allocated by Congress to modernize HIT in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
That means encouraging more hospitals and doctors, who have been wary of using computers to manage patient records, to use new technology.
Blumenthal, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, senior vice president at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and executive director of the Center for Health Policy and Management, is a lecturer on public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In the late 1970s, he worked for the Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research under Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy. He also has served as a senior health adviser to Obama’s presidential election campaign.