Rethinking Healthcare

Blumenthal seizes control of health IT

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We'll say to the industry and providers of care: We don't care how you accomplish critical tasks, so long as you do so with electronic technology.

The great fear of health IT reformers like Brian Klepper is that the industry will seize control of the process through the certification process.

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal (left) insisted that will not happen.

Instead, he indicated, specifications will be set by his advisors' committee, which includes industry representatives but other stakeholders as well.

The best indication that criteria will be loose came in this paragraph, from the interview:

We'll try to resolve these issues by focusing on performance rather than any specific technology. We'll say to the industry and providers of care: We don't care how you accomplish critical tasks, so long as you do so with electronic technology. 

The advisory committee will hold its second meeting tomorrow. In addition to the 13 members announced in April it will also include appointees from HHS Secretary Sibelius and from the President himself.

Last month Sen. Mitch McConnell appointed former Columbia/HCA CIO Richard Chapman to the panel.

Only one member of the group, Florida Rep. Gloria Harrell, is so far on record opposing the health IT money in the stimulus bill. She was appointed to the group by House Minority Leader John Boehner.

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Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure