National Health IT Coordinator Identifies Healthcare Bottlenecks

David Blumenthal, ONC; Photo:,

National Coordinator of Health IT David Blumenthal has identified four bottlenecks in healthcare IT that hinder the United States from adopting a more robust, digital system, according to

They are:

  • Lack of funding
  • Logistical issues for healthcare practitioners who want to adopt IT methods but lack technological know-how and expertise
  • Lack of health exchange infrastructures
  • Privacy concerns from U.S. consumers

Blumenthal made his remarks Oct. 29 before an Alliance for Health Reform panel featuring physicians and health IT specialists from Sweden, Denmark and New Zealand who offered guidance and best practices about IT systems in their countries

For example, Sabine Koch, professor of health informatics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, noted 100 percent use of electronic primary care documentation and 97 percent use in hospitals in Sweden.

Blumenthal said there were a number of possibilities for health IT, but first the United States must more fully adopt electronic health records.

“Once we get information into electronic form—all kinds of uses will be possible,” he said, according to “But we can’t get there until the information is digitized.”

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