Meaningful use after Blumenthal
Health IT community optimistic about future
Hospitals, physicians and their information technology leaders will have to plunge forward in meeting the government’s criteria for meaningful use of health IT without the Obama administration’s ubiquitous evangelist for the cause.
Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health IT at HHS, announced last week that he will be returning to research work at Harvard University.
Health IT community members, however, were optimistic that the organizational momentum Blumenthal created would continue after he leaves office this spring.
In a note to his staff, Blumenthal said a twoyear term limit “was planned when I accepted the position.” President Barack Obama appointed him in March 2009. Harvard confirmed its policy limits sabbaticals to two years, meaning he would lose his university appointments if he stayed on longer at the ONC. Blumenthal’s replacement has not been named, and a specific date for his departure was not revealed.
Dr. Peter Basch, medical director for electronic health records and health IT policy at MedStar Health, Columbia, Md., said Blumenthal’s prior use of electronic healthrecord systems in his medical practice served him well in his ONC job.
“Really, from the beginning—he was chosen as a non-IT person leading the IT strategy—I felt comfortable,” said Basch, a member of three
Blumenthal, who will step down as national coordinator for health IT at HHS, said a two-year limit was planned when he accepted the