The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has launched a blog to provide an industrywide forum on health I.T. issues.

"With this new venture, we hope to create a forum for engagement," National Coordinator David Blumenthal, M.D., writes in a welcome statement on the site, at "We plan to report on progress, and create an open dialogue among members of the health IT community. We intend to address a wide and diverse range of timely topics relevant to the 'why's and how's' of efforts to support the secure and seamless exchange of electronic health information. We will discuss our ongoing work to protect patient privacy, secure information and implement standards. We'll also be using the blog to provide additional information regarding our new grant programs. And the conversation wouldn't be complete without discussing the meaningful use rulemaking and incentive programs, clarifying our vision and addressing key challenges."

In a media conference call, Blumenthal confirmed that comments on the blog would be considered as federal policymakers develop proposed and final rules. "We're going to look at every resource available to us and the blog certainly will be one of the sources."

Blumenthal also said proposed rules related to the meaningful use of electronic health records remain on schedule for publication near the end of 2009.

--Joseph Goedert

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