Kudos to Our Federal Advisory Committees

Judy Murphy | February 8, 2012

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is very proud of the two federal advisory committees that we support: The Health IT Policy and the Health IT Standards Committees. Created by the HITECH Act to provide input on the policies and technologies needed to improve health and care, the Committees, as noted in a recent blog post by David Kibbe and Brian Klepper Exit Disclaimer , are an invaluable resource. Through their open meetings and hearings, they promote transparency in ONC policy development and build support and ownership among key private-sector stakeholders in ONC policies and programs. They are a direct channel for private and public sector health IT leaders and the public to offer input into U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) processes for developing policies and regulations.

The Committees have been extraordinarily productive—in fact, they’ve been called the hardest working FACAs in the government. They and their dozen or so workgroups have conducted more than 150 meetings in 2011. Their recommendations have shaped key policies, programs, and technical activities to achieve HITECH goals since their inception in May 2009.

In 2011 alone, their recommendations included:

  • Meaningful Use Stage 2 policies and standards
  • Quality measures for Meaningful Use
  • Security policy framework for electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Policies for the Query Health project
  • Patient view and download of their information
  • EHR usability
  • Provider directories
  • Metadata standards for patient identification, provenance, and privacy, following the Report of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
  • Patient matching
  • Standards and specifications for the nationwide health information exchange

The members of these committees and workgroups have generously volunteered their time, knowledge, professional contacts, patience, and collegiality. Their work is helping America modernize its health care system through health IT. And, as we know, health IT is foundational to building the health system of the 21st Century where care is better coordinated, patient centered, and safer; and where we pay for the right care, not just more care. ONC, and the nation as a whole, are immensely indebted to them. Kudos and thank you to each and every member for the Committees and their workgroups—your work is truly appreciated.