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Health IT ‘Rock Star’ Blumenthal Sits Pretty at Year’s End

Health IT Coordinator David Blumenthal, Photo: hhs.gov

In the world of electronic health records, David Blumenthal the national coordinator for health IT is a celebrity.

Health Leaders Media, in a list of the top 20 change agents in healthcare, goes even further, calling him a verifiable “rock star.”

HealthLeaders20, a compilation of healthcare figures changing the industry “for the better,” this year details how Blumenthal, a Boston primary care physician “ended his long-time love affair with his paper prescription pad and embraced electronic health systems.”

As the director of the nation’s health IT initiatives, Blumenthal has had his hands full this year, hammering out a definition for “meaningful use,” which classifies providers who’ve made the jump to using digital records.

Blumenthal’s goals have been helped by his penchant for putting a premium on collaboration, HLM reports.

“Blumenthal has put an emphasis on input and collaboration—backed by regulation in the form of the HITECH Act and some $20 billion in government incentives for those organizations that become meaningful users” of health IT,” HLM reports.

Overarching much of the Health and Human Services Department health IT initiatives is Blumenthal’s vision for completely “unconstrained” health records.

“We envision a future where information follows patients,” Blumenthal told HLM. “Unconstrained by competitive rivalry, unconstrained by geographic boundaries, unconstrained by cultural disinclinations to collaborate. We want teams to emerge in local communities that make exchange possible. And we will be using the meaningful use framework and all other levers at our disposal to try to make that possible.”

Blumenthal has been coming in at the top of other end-of-the-year lists recently. ExecutiveBiz ranked him as one of the top 20 people to watch in the coming year, noting his efforts to provide greater clarity on the nationwide health information network and his circumspect, collaborative approach.

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