The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced the selection of David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P. as the Obama Administration's choice for national coordinator for health information technology. As the national coordinator, Blumenthal will lead the implementation of a nationwide interoperable, privacy-protected health information technology infrastructure as called for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"President Obama believes we must take serious steps to modernize our health care system in order to improve the health of all Americans, bring down costs and ensure sustained long-term economic growth. Health information technology is a critical part of the president's strategy to reform our health care system and as one of the nation's leading health information technology experts, Dr. Blumenthal has the experience and the vision to help make this effort a reality," said HHS spokeswoman Jenny Backus.

Blumenthal most recently served as a physician and director of the Institute for Health Policy at The Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare System in Boston. He was also 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. Prior to that, he was senior vice president at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and served as executive director of the Center for Health Policy and Management and as a lecturer on Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

During the late 1970's, Blumenthal worked on Senator Edward Kennedy's Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research.More recently, Blumenthal served as a senior health adviser to the Obama for America campaign. Blumenthal has extensively researched the dissemination of health information technology, quality management in health care, the determinants of physician behavior, access to health services, and the extent and consequences of academic-industrial relationships in the health sciences

"I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve President Obama and the American people in the effort to harness the power of health information technology to modernize our health care system," said Blumenthal. "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."

ARRA $19.5 Billion in Health IT

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes a $19.5 billion investment in health information technology. Blumenthal will lead the effort at HHS to modernize the health care system by catalyzing the adoption of interoperable health information technology by 2014 thereby reducing health costs for the federal government by an estimated $12 billion over 10 years.