Friday, February 18, 2011

Welcome to Oregon, President Obama and Mr. Otellini

Today I will have the opportunity to attend President Obama's visit to Intel Corp. in Portland, Oregon. While I will just be among the crowd, I would love the opportunity to talk with both of them, and will post my comments of what I would say in this blog entry.

President Obama, I want to thank you for the opportunity afforded by the HITECH Act in your stimulus legislation. I wish we could have you over to visit Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), where we have put the $5.8 million awarded to us under the HITECH Act to good use. It is an investment in human capital that is building the workforce of future professionals who will lead the "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHRs) to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. On time and on budget, we are not only one of nine universities training these professionals from around the country, but also one of five universities developing curricular materials for shorter-term community college programs. In the latter program, we also serve as the National Training & Development Center, training and supporting community college faculty in use of the materials and disseminating them via a secure Web site. We have also enhanced the scope of the program by building a curriculum around the VistA EHR system from the Veteran's Administration. This system is another exemplary federal project that has drastically improved healthcare delivery by the VA, and now will provide additional value in training future health information technology professionals in using and configuring EHRs.

To Intel Corp., namely Mr. Paul Otellini, CEO, I would love the opportunity to show off the work being done by a local university, OHSU, in your company's own backyard here in Oregon. I would relish the opportunity to work with your company more to increase economic development and create high-skill, high-paying jobs in Oregon. I have written in this blog, a local tech blog, and even our local newspaper, the Oregonian, about the potential that exists in Oregon for synergy among companies, an innovative healthcare system, and a world class academic program in biomedical informatics at OHSU to create an economic cluster around health information technology. Investing in students, research, and companies could pay off well for our region.

Postscript: I had an enjoyable time visiting Intel and hearing President Obama speak. I managed to get a front row seat and was able to shake the President's hand afterwards. Of course I took pictures and posted some of them on Facebook. I still would love the opportunity to address either the President or Mr. Otellini about the issues raised above.

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