The FierceHealthIT newsletter has an article today entitled Kolodner named interim health IT coordinator. Robert Kolodner has been the chief healthcare informatics officer at the VA until recently. HHS replacing Dr. David Brailer with Kolodner as head of ONCHIT is good news - I hope.
Kolodner was instrumental in the radical improvements over the past few years in the VA's IT infrastructure and concomitant customer service enhancements. The VA is one of the few success stories in the realm of large-scale EHR/EMR in the US, Kaiser-Permanente being another.
I wrote about all this in my Digital Health Coming to Grandma's House post back in July. I was not optimistic then, but Kolodner is a good choice to attack a very thorny problem, so maybe it's time to perk up a bit.
I wonder if Kolodner can be creative enough to get past the Prisoner's Dilemma problems inherent in the fragmented US healthcare system - the same problems that cuase us to leave 1 out of 6 Americans uninsured, and cost us two and a half times what other developed nations spend on healthcare, only to get a level of quality on a par with Cuba's healthcare system. I wonder if he'll point a finger at the root cause behind the Prisoner's Dilemma problems. If he does, I wonder if we'll shoot the messenger.