This doctor’s task: Get hospitals to go digital
Dr. David Blumenthal leads the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) at the Health and Human Services Department, where his staff is charged with building a nationwide health information technology infrastructure. Appointed in April 2009, Blumenthal is tasked with ensuring that every physician's office and hospital by 2014 is using electronic health records and bringing down the cost of health care.
He previously served as a physician and director of the Institute for Health Policy at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare System in Boston and has used electronic records to care for patients for 10 years, according to an HHS news release. He also served as a professor of medicine and health care policy at Harvard University Medical School and as director of the interfaculty program for health systems improvement.
Following are excerpts of an interview in which he describes progress in the program that will pay incentives to health care providers who make "meaningful use" of electronic records and take steps toward staffing regional extension centers to train providers as they set up electronic systems.
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