Nation's first health IT coordinator resigns

David Brailer, the first national coordinator for health IT, will leave his post next month, the Health and Human Services Department has announced.

Brailer, who has served in his position since May 2004, will step down May 19. The agency is looking for a replacement, HHS said.

'Over the past two years, David has made significant progress in advancing the president's health IT agenda and laying the building blocks for future programs,' HHS secretary Mike Leavitt said.

Although he is leaving his post, Brailer agreed to serve as vice chairman of the American Health Information Community, a public-private partnership that offers recommendations to HHS on facilitating standards for health IT.

Until his replacement is found, the Office of the National Coordinator's work will be overseen by its four permanent directors.

Over the last two years, Brailer has set in motion health IT efforts that individually and in tandem will let physicians, hospitals, insurers and pharmacists exchange patient data to transform the quality of medical care in the United States.

At AHIC, Brailer will remain heavily involved in health IT matters, as the organization has set some aggressive goals for next year:
  • Give authorized providers access to patients' current and historical laboratory results
  • Transmit emergency room and physician office chief complaint data, such as fever or headache, in a standardized and anonymized format to public health agencies within 24 hours
  • Exchange secure messaging between physicians and patients so patients can begin to manage the care of their chronic conditions.

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