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The Department of Health and Human Services reported the selection of David Blumenthal, MD, as the Obama administration's choice for national coordinator for health information technology. As the national coordinator, Blumenthal will lead the implementation of a nationwide interoperable, privacy-protected health information technology infrastructure as called for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Blumenthal is the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine and professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School (Boston) and a primary care physician.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA; Chicago) and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS; also Chicago) applauded the choice.

"There is not a more appropriate selection than Dr. David Blumenthal as national coordinator to lead America's health information technology efforts through this period of expansion and great promise," AHIMA CEO Linda Kloss said in a statement. "His selection by President Obama illustrates the administration's unqualified commitment to serious healthcare reform and the vital role quality health information must play in this process. Dr. Blumenthal brings to our challenge a unique depth of experience, an extremely broad field of vision and, perhaps most important, an unquestionable professional commitment to patient care and welfare the ultimate measurement of successful reform."

Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president/CEO, said, "Dr. Blumenthal's expert understanding of the Obama administration's healthcare policy initiatives will be an asset to the healthcare IT community as we all tackle the requirements and milestones identified in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, and work through healthcare reform efforts. We look forward to working with Dr. Blumenthal and his team at the Office of the National Coordinator."

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