By a vote of 78 to 17, the U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Twenty-four Republicans joined 52 Democrats and two independents in voting for her confirmation.

Burwell, formerly director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, garnered bipartisan support from Senate leaders and replaces embattled HHS head Kathleen Sebelius, who announced in April that she was resigning. The Obama administration is hoping that Burwell's confirmation will help alleviate widespread criticism of Seblius's handling of the botched rollout of President Obama's signature healthcare law.

At a Senate nomination hearing last month, Burwell told lawmakers that she will promote greater data transparency as a critical component of healthcare transformation. However, she also warned that data without context is not valuable for consumers or providers.

"I think information on markets is an important thing and the better off we are when we can get it to both individuals as well as the providers," Burwell testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "I believe this is an important part of both quality and costs and it's important for individuals, insurers and doctors."

Tom Leary, vice president for government relations at HIMSS, said in a written statement that the organization "looks forward to working with Sylvia Mathews Burwell as we continue the transformation of healthcare in the U.S.” and that “health IT is an important part of that transformation, and I’m confident that Secretary Burwell will skillfully lead the department through the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

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