Healthcare Business News
Dr. Paul Tang, HITPC co-chair

Federal health IT policy committee work groups consolidate

By Joseph Conn
Posted: July 10, 2014 - 2:45 pm ET

Most of the 15 subcommittees, work groups and ad hoc task forces of the federally chartered Health Information Technology Policy Committee will be reorganized into six permanent work groups, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced at the ONC's monthly meeting Tuesday. She also named the leaders of those work groups in unveiling the committee's new structure.

The HITPC, created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and its various work groups, has advised ONC leaders on a wide array of health IT policy matters. Most notably, the committees have made recommendations to the ONC on all three stages thus far of the meaningful-use criteria used by providers and vendors under the ARRA's electronic health-record incentive payment program. The committee and its work groups have also addressed such prominent issues as health information privacy and security; health information exchanges; and consumer empowerment in the use of health IT.

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The six new work groups and leaders are: HIT Strategy and Innovation, chaired by David Lansky, president and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health, San Francisco, with a co-chair to be named later; Advanced Health Models and Meaningful Use, chaired by Dr. Paul Tang, chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto (Calif.) Medical Foundation, with co-chair Dr. Joe Kimura, medical director of analytics and reporting systems at Atrius Health, Boston; HIT Implementation, Usability and Safety, chaired by Dr. David Bates, medical director of clinical and quality analysis, information systems at Partners HealthCare System, Boston, with co-chair Larry Wolf, health information technology strategist with Kindred Healthcare, Louisville, Ky.; Interoperability and Health Information Exchange, chaired by Micky Tripathi, president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, Waltham, Mass., with co-chair Dr. Chris Lehmann, professor of pediatrics and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University, Nashville; Consumer Perspective and Engagement, chaired by Christine Bechtel, president of the Bechtel Health Advisory Group, Washington, D.C., with a co-chair to be named later; and Privacy and Security, chaired by Deven McGraw, a partner with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Washington, D.C. with a co-chair to be named later.

Tang also has been reappointed to serve as co-chair of the HITPC, headed by DeSalvo.

The ONC is still recruiting and selecting work group members, with an eye toward geographical and experiential diversity and balance, according to DeSalvo.

One other recently formed HITPC task force, organized to study the implications of an April report on health IT and interoperability by a group of scientists known as the JASON, will remain to do “a deeper dive” into that report, looking at governance, business models and sustainability, DeSalvo said.

None of the announcements came as a surprise. DeSalvo telegraphed major ONC revamping in late May, stating she was aiming for a flatter structure as many of the programs launched and funded under the ARRA wind down, and announced a reorganization of the work group structure at the policy committee meeting in April (PDF).

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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