Top newsmakers: Making good on visions deployed in 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – They dominated the headlines and made bold announcements that created huge impacts in the healthcare industry and across America.

Marquee names topped the results in our reader surveys for top policymakers, provider-based healthcare IT leaders who did the most innovative work in 2007 and vendor-based leaders who have advanced the cause of healthcare IT the furthest in 2007.

Policymakers: walking the walk

It seemed that every week Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt was making announcements. That constant visibility accounted for his being the runaway vote-getter as top policymaker of 2007.

From new standards for e-prescribing, personalized healthcare goals and global electronic health record standards to Medicaid transformation grants and commitment to healthcare system transparency, Leavitt is being touted for his healthcare IT focus. “Consistent messaging of the impact of technology on healthcare is penetrating every component of the industry,” said Kevan Nasserzadeh of Fair Isaac.

“I do not believe that the health IT battle will be won locally,” wrote in one reader. “Meaningful change will come from national initiatives such as those Mike Leavitt is driving, or at the least, the way will be paved by these early initiatives.”

President George W. Bush garnered support from businesses and other stakeholders for his value-driven healthcare plan with four cornerstone goals, including adoption of healthcare IT interoperability.

Despite his second-place finish, Bush has his detractors, most notably Deborah Peel, MD, of the Patient Privacy Rights. “Bush and his administration have pressed forward to create an illegal and unethical HIT system by eliminating patients’ right to control their personal health information,” she complained.

While not as charismatic as David Brailer, MD, the first National Coordinator for Healthcare IT, Robert Kolodner completed his first full year as head of ONCHIT spearheading the same agenda as his predecessor and landing as the number three top policymaker. “As another physician, I thought he had the most practical view of the issues at hand,” said Karen Scoles, MD, medical director of information systems for Crozer-Keystone Health System.

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