It’s been hard to find a replacement for outgoing National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Dr. David Brailer. An interim replacement already in government service is likely to be named soon. According to Health Data Management:
There are several reasons why it’s been a tough position to fill. First, it’s a political position, which means it requires a candidate with bargaining skills. And it’s likely to last only two years, until the end of President Bush’s term in office. In addition, “the position has to be politically screened,” Brailer noted. “That means there are fewer people interested in doing the job and so a smaller universe of candidates.”
Here’s what the unofficial job description would look like:
Cheerleader wanted! Must be excited about heading a department with no authority and a small, shrinking budget. Must toe the Bush Administration line. Low pay, long hours, heavy travel, no chance of advancement. Must have an MD and be an expert in technology.
A major issue complicating the search is the idea that the candidate needs to be a physician. All the people I’ve heard about being approached have been docs. It would make sense to me to open up the search to health care IT experts more broadly. The only real advantage of the MD is the credibility it brings in dealing with physicians. That can be challenging for a non-doc, but it’s a challenge that is surmounted regularly in the private sector.