Health IT Standards Committee and Task Forces

Jon White and Steven Posnack | May 20, 2015

Spring has arrived in Washington and it is the season of change.  In our ongoing pursuit of agile and effective public service, we turn our attention today to how we get timely and effective public input.

Over the past 6 years, the Health IT Standards Committee (HITSC), one of ONC’s Federal Advisory Committees, has undertaken its work using several workgroup models. Each assembled to provide the full committee with detailed input so that ultimately the HITSC could make recommendations to ONC.

This June marks the beginning of a membership renewal cycle that will continue throughout the remainder of 2015 and conclude in early 2016 as many “original” HITSC members reach their term limits. By the start of 2016, the HITSC will be comprised of a significant number of new members.  As we plan for this transition, we have considered the HITSC’s overall operations and the need to efficiently craft recommendations making the best use of all resources.

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.  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.  Additionally, because task forces will be created for a set time period and will be convened for specific issues, we expect 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.

Current standing workgroups will continue their work for the full committee through June and then sunset. Beginning in July, the HITSC will be asked to form a task force to take on specific topics on which ONC seeks advice. We invite all stakeholders who might be interested in serving on a task force to signal your interest by submitting your information through the FACA Membership Application form on

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. Working together will help us all achieve an interoperable learning health system.