The Health IT Standards Committee, a stakeholder advisory committee to the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT, is changing how it makes recommendations to ONC.

The committee is turning away from its traditional workgroup model and instead is pursuing a new task force-based format as a more efficient way of securing input on which to base its recommendations to ONC.

Committee members are charged with making recommendations to ONC on standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information. Under the new reorganization plan, current standing workgroups will continue their work through June 2015 and then be disbanded. Starting in July, the Health IT Standards Committee will be asked to form a task force to take on specific topics on which ONC is seeking advice.

Also See: Health IT Standards Committee Seeks 10 New Members

“In light of recent experiences, we believe that an HITSC with targeted, time-limited task forces will be a better way to get the expert and public feedback we need,” writes Jon White, M.D., acting deputy national coordinator, and Steven Posnack, director of ONC’s Office of Standards and Technology, in a recent blog. “This approach also provides task force members with clear and finite time commitments to study an issue with more specificity on the scope and nature of a task force’s work.”

In addition, they argue that because task forces will be created for a set time period and will be convened for specific issues, the task force structure will allow for greater participation from a diverse mix of stakeholders and a wider range of perspectives. “This operational change to a more nimble and adaptable structure will also help improve the representative focus that we always strive to achieve,” according to White and Posnack.

“We appreciate the hard work and commitment that HITSC and workgroup members put in month after month and look forward to the return of many of the existing members into the new task forces,” they conclude.

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