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The Surge in U.S. Health IT Spending: Research Opportunities and Innovation Opportunities and Barriers

Presented by Dr. Robert Kolodner, Former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)

DATE: Wednesday, November 4, 2009
TIME: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
[ Video Archive ]
LOCATION: Klaus Advanced Computing Building, room 1116 E/W

The U.S. healthcare system is at a critical stage. There are widely diverse views about how to contain the spiraling costs while improving quality and safety and covering the un- and under-insured. One of the few areas of bipartisan agreement is that the pervasive use of health information technology (HIT) is an essential part of any successful health reform solution. Use of Electronic Health Records by U.S. health care providers is extremely low - under 20% - and Personal Health Records are just beginning to be used by individuals to manage and improve their health status. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included over $40B of federal funding to be spent on HIT over the next 5-7 years. While these funds could serve to spur innovation, concerns have been raised that such a rapid infusion could simply solidify the hold by market leaders who may be using older, less nimble, more expensive solutions. Dr. Kolodner will draw from his recent role as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources and from his decades of experience in the Department of Veterans Affairs as the physician champion of the world's first successful development and large-scale implementation of a comprehensive Electronic Health Record and Personal Health Record system for veterans.

BIO: In September 2009, Dr. Robert Kolodner transitioned from the federal to the private sector to continue his work to improve the health and well being of individuals and communities worldwide by advancing the proliferation and rapid, collaborative evolution of health information technology (HIT) tools and solutions.

From 2006 to April 2009, he served as the President's designated lead for the United States eHealth initiative as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His responsibilities included developing, maintaining, and directing the implementation of a HIT strategic plan and directing related activities that were necessary to advance the nationwide adoption of person-centered, interoperable HIT solutions.

For the prior 28 years he had been the key clinical champion in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) providing vision, direction, and effective leadership for the development and pervasive use of the VA's award-winning suite of HIT solutions, including My HealtheVet, a Personal Health Record for veterans, and VistA - the world's first successful large-scale Electronic Health Record implementation.

He started his VA career at the Atlanta VA Medical Center as a psychiatrist from 1978-1985. In addition to being an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at the Emory University School of Medicine, he served as a liaison with the Georgia Institute of Technology in his roles as Medical Coordinator, Rehabilitation Research and Development (1980-1983) and Medical Coordinator, Health Services Research and Development (1982-1985) at the Atlanta VA.

Dr. Kolodner received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College, his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, and completed his psychiatric residency at the Washington University School of Medicine. He has medical specialty board certification in psychiatry.

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