National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, M.D., has announced six HIT Policy Committee workgroups as part of a restructuring and consolidation effort.

The reorganization includes fewer workgroups but an expansion of their respective scopes to make them more "strategic and forward-thinking." The HITPC workgroups now include: HIT Strategy and Innovation chaired by David Lansky; Advanced Health Models and Meaningful Use chaired by Paul Tang; HIT Implementation, Usability, and Safety chaired by David Bates; Interoperability and Health Information Exchange chaired by Micky Tripathi; Privacy and Security chaired by Deven McGraw; and Consumer Perspective and Engagement chaired by Christine Bechtel.

Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and chair of the Interoperability and HIE workgroup, told Health Data Management that ONC is “bringing in more people, which is a very good thing, in terms of chairs and co-chairs and also to manage the workload--because we’re all volunteers.”

In May, ONC began accepting applications for the HIT Policy Committee and Standards Committee Workgroups to “build on the workgroups’ diverse membership” with “new members that represent important perspectives and areas of expertise and add to the discussions by engaging in strategic, innovative thinking."

ONC decided to make adjustments to its workgroup structure to better focus its work and to “have an opportunity to sunset some of the workgroups and tiger teams who were completing their efforts and then bundle together some efforts,” said DeSalvo at this month’s HIT Policy Committee meeting. She said that the workgroup restructuring is “an iterative process as we close out work and pick up the new work.” The workgroups will begin meeting virtually in August and meet in-person this fall, with a full list of workgroup members to be made available later.

The workgroups, which help identify health IT standards, implementation and certification criteria, typically meet virtually twice a month for at least three hours per month--with in-person hearings as needed--to deliberate and make recommendations to the HIT Policy Committee.

DeSalvo said the HIT Strategy and Innovation workgroup this fall will help develop a Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and in the winter a national set of HIT priorities based on a series of listening sessions held around the country.  

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