Obama’s Health IT Chiefs on Tap for Governor Patrick’s Big Health Technology Ball

Massachusetts is going to be the focus of the health IT universe late next month — if it isn’t already. Governor Deval Patrick and his staff have invited power players in both the healthcare and technology fields to Boston in April for a conference that is expected to highlight the state’s fast-growing health IT sector.

The conclave comes as state organizations in Massachusetts and other parts of the U.S. begin spending more than $1 billon awarded to them by the federal government since February for regional and statewide systems for sharing electronic health records. To headline the conference, the governor has attracted at least two of the top federal officials involved in national health IT initiatives: Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health information technology. The conference is slated for April 29-30 at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel in South Boston.

Several factors are playing into Patrick’s strategy for bringing these and other heavy hitters to the state, according to people involved with the conference. Massachusetts has a huge stake in President Obama’s plan to invest $19.5 billion from the federal economic stimulus passed last year to drive adoption of health information technology over the next several years; a bright spot in the mostly stormy economy in recent years has been the growth of tech companies such as Athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, and Meditech that provide software and services to hospitals and other healthcare organizations. These Bay State firms are competing with companies around the world for their share of the billions of dollars in new business that will be generated by Obama’s health IT initiative, which is expected to create jobs while reducing healthcare costs and improving patient care.

Bay State officials have invited state health IT and Medicaid leaders from around the country, as well as healthcare software firms from Massachusetts, to the conference. To help ensure their participation at the conference, the plan is to pay for the travel expenses of … Next Page »

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