The country's de facto health IT czar announced last week he is stepping down from his position.
NextGov reports Dr. David Blumenthal, who has served as the national coordinator for health IT for two years, is leaving his post to retain tenure at Harvard University Medical School, where he was a professor of medicine and health care policy.
According to Kaiser Health News, Blumenthal told his staff:
We are already seeing results that indicate that the national shift to (electronic health records) and (health information technology)-assisted care is finally underway.
But there's still a long way to go. Linda Fishman, senior vice president for public policy at the American Hospital Association, pointed out that less than 2 percent of hospitals currently qualify for federal e-health records systems incentives. She blames the low numbers on "the stringent rules put in place to make sure the technology is used in ways that improve patient care."
The Department of Health and Human Services is reportedly conducting a nationwide search for Blumenthal's replacement. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said of Blumenthal's departure:
David will leave his post having built a strong foundation, created real momentum for (health information technology) adoption [and] charted a course for the meaningful use of (electronic health records) ...