President George Bush has created a National Health Technology Coordinator position to coordinate bar codes on medication bottles, paperless medical records, and other high-tech government programs. The technology coordinator will track initiatives within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and communicate with other government agencies working on similar projects, said William Pierce, spokesman for the HHS.
A core responsibility for the coordinator is to know "what everybody is doing and seeing where things that they might be working on are similar," said Pierce. Other duties include promoting the adoption of information technology on the health sector and developing ideas to make it more affordable for rural and poor communities, according to a White House statement.
The announcement called for HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to discuss with President Bush and determine a nominee, with the job to start in 90 days. This announcement comes amid a wave of new projects to bring the health care industry into the 21st century, such as radio-frequency identification tags to track prescription drugs and stop counterfeiters.