Psychiatrist Robert Kolodner, M.D., was named national coordinator for
health information technology in the federal Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) last month. His appointment was effective immediately.
Kolodner, formerly of the Department of Veterans Affairs, had been serving
as the interim national coordinator for health information technology (HIT)
since last fall (Psychiatric News, January 6). He succeeded David
Kolodner will serve as principal advisor to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on
all HIT initiatives. He will also continue to develop, maintain, and direct
the implementation of the strategic plan to guide nationwide adoption of
interoperable health information technology. Advocates of electronic records
say it will reduce medical errors, improve quality, and produce greater value
in health care.
Darrel Regier, M.D., director of APA's Division of Research and the
American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, said that Kolodner
is the "right man for the job and very well qualified."
Regier continued, "We are delighted with his permanent appointment
after this interim period where he could be tested for how he would carry out
this function. And we're delighted to have a psychiatrist who can be sensitive
to the special concerns that we have for privacy of mental health records.
[Kolodner] is also knowledgeable about how mental health can be integrated
with the rest of medicine as it had been done at the VA."